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A. H. KEANE, B. A., 







1, 3, and r> BOND STREET. 







I. General Survey 

II. Afghanistan 

Afghan Highlands, p. 
Inhabitants, p. 33. 
Topography, p. 46. 




19. River Systems, p. 26. Climate, Flora and Fauna, p. 31. 

III. Baluchistan . 58 

Highlands, p. 60. River Systems, p. 63. Climate, Flora and Fauna, p. 65. Inhabi- 
tants, p. 66. 
Topography, p. "0. 


Persia ' '' 

Historic Retrospect, p. 75. Mountain Systems, p. 78. The Caspian Coastlands, p. 86. 
The Western Highlands, p. 91. The Central Deserts, p. 93. Hydrogiaphic Systems, 
p. 95. Climate, Flora, Fauna, p. 101. Inhabitants, p. 104. Topography, ?■ 117. Social 
Condition, Administration, Prospects, p. 151. 

V. Asiatic Tuhkey ... 1"- 

Lazistan, Armenia, and Kurdistan, p. 163. Armenian Highlands, p. 165. Kurdistan High- 
lands, p. 167. Lake Van, p. 168. Climate, Flcra, and Fauna, p. 169. Inhabitants: 
Lazes, Armenians, Kurds, p. 171. The Kizil-Bashes, Yezidis. and Nestorians, p. 177. 
Topography of Armenia and Kurdistan, p. 1 SO. 

VI. Lower Kurdistan, Mesopotamia, Irak-Aram 192 

Historic Retrospect, p. 193. North Mesopotamian Orographic System, p. 196. The 
Tigris Basin, p. 199. The Euphrates Basin, p. 201. The Shat-el-Arab and Euphrates 
Delta, p. 211. Climate, Fauna, and Flora of Mesopotamia, p. 213. Inhabitants— The 
.Arabs and Kurds, p. 214. Topography of the Tigris Basin, p. 218. Topography of the 
Euphrates Basin, p. 230. 

VII. Asia Minor 241 

General Survey, p. 242. Anatolian Mountain Systems, p. 'Jl ">. The Ami- Taurus and 
Cilician Taurus, p. 247. Isaurian and Lycian Taurus, p. 250. West Anatolian I .oastlands 
and Islands, p. 254. North Anatolian Ranges % p. 200. The Anatolian Water Systems: 
The Yeshil-Irmak-, Kizil-Irmak, and Sakaria p. 262. Rivers Sowing to the iEgean, p. 266. 
Lacustrine Basins and Rivers flowing to the Mediterranean, p. 273. Climate, Flora, and 
Fauna, p. 278. Inhabitants: Yuruks and Turks, p. 283. The Anatolian Greeks, p. 290. 
Topography, p. 294. Prospects of Anatolia, p. 343. 




VIII. Cypeds . ... 844 

Mountains and Kin is, p. 346. Climate, Flora, and Faun, p. 347. Inhabitants, p. 348. 
Topography, p. 3 19. 

IX. Syria, PaLESTINB, Sinai 354 

Historic i I'- 354. Mountain Ranges: I.ihunon and Anti-I.ibannn, ]>. 356. 

Hermon, Hills of Galilee, Mount Carmel, p. 859. Trans-Jordan Uplands, p. 862. Sinai 
Highlands, p. 363. Rivers of Syria and Palestine, ]>. 3<i7. The Jordan and Dead Sea, 
p. 3711. Climate. Flora, and Fauna, p. 374. Inhabitants of Syria and Palestine, p. 376. 
The Ansarieh, Dru/es, and Maronites, p. 377. The Melkites and Jews, ]>• 380. Topo- 
graphy of Syria, p. 3S2. Topography of Palestine, p. 409. 

X. Arabia 430 

Historic Retrospect, p. 430. General Survey, p. 433. Mountain Systems, p. 43.3. The 
Hejaz and Assir Uplands, p. 487. The Yemen Highlands, p. 488. Hadramaut and South 
Coast, p. 439. The Oman Highlands, p. 441. The Central Ranges and Hurras, p. 413. 
The Northern steppes and Deserts, p. 446. The Southern Desert, p. 440. Climate oi 
Arabia, p. ISO The Persian Gulf, p. 464. The Red Sea, p. 166. Flora of Arabia, p. 462. 
Fauna, p. 464. Inhabitants: the ISodoums, 467- The Wahabites, p. 471. 
Topography, p. 472. 

Statistical TaHLBP 


Index 497 



1. Assyria and Chaldea . 

2. Teheran and Demaveud 

3. Asiatic Greece . 




4 . Palestine - Northern Section 

5. Palestine— Southern Section 

6. Peninsular of Sinai 





Types and Costumes — Group of Zeibeks Frontispiece 

Baalbek — Ruins of the Two Temples To face page 

Kandahar .... 

View taken from the Paiwar Pass 

The Amir Sher Ali, Prince Abdallah Yan, and 

Durani Chiefs ..... 
Kelat-i-Xadir — Argiiavan-Shah Gorge . 
Types and Costumes — Group of Hazarehs 
Hainadan and Mount Elvend — View taken 

from the South-east . 
Bridge of Dizful 
A Balnch Mendicant 
Fortress of Veramin 
liamadan, Ruined Mosque of 

Bandar-Abbas . 

Types and Costumes Kurdish 
Town and Citadel ol Van 
The Euphrates at Birejik 
Types and Costumes — Arabs of Bagdad . 
General View of Sinope .... 

the fjurteentl 









The Bosphorus — View taken opposite Arnaut- 

Koi, near the Asiatic Side Zi 305 
Turkish Batteries at the Black Sea entrance of 

the Bosphorus 307 

Cypresses in the Cemetery of Scutari . . 309 
Brussa— General View . . . . .311 

Gulf of Smyrna— General View of Kara-Tash 

and Gioz-Te] e ...... 323 

Smyrna — View taken from Mount Pagus . 32G 

Bphesus— Ruins of the Aqueduct and Citadel . 329 

Rhodes— Lindos Bay . . . .338 

Mount Hermon — View taken from Rasheya . 359 

Lake and City of Tiberias .... 372 

Bruze Princess and Lady of the l.ibanon . 379 

Aleppo -General View ..... 383 

Ruins of Palmyra- The Colonnade . . • *05 

Jerusalem — Omar a Mosque .... 417 

Jaffa General View ..... 425 

Aden — Steamer Point ..... 439 

of VI. i *76 

Mecca — Court of the Kaaba . . 17i» 





1. Ethnical Divisions of Hither Asia 

2. Asiatic Origin of various cultivated 


;. 1 ii usity <>f tin- Population of Hither Asia . 
4. Central Point of the Old World 
6. Centre of Gravity fur tin- Populations of 
the Old World 

6. Religions of Hither Asia .... 

7. Marsha Pass. NORTB hi Kandahar 

8. Itineraries of Afghanistan 

9. The Eastern Hindu-Kush .... 

10. Tin- Western Hindu-Kush 

11. The Sefld-Eoh of East Afghanistan . 

12. The Kabul River— View taken near 

Cuzeroao, Shardbh Valley 

13. Tin' Mamiin Basin 

1 I. Tin; (iiimul Pass ..... 

15. Populations of Afghanistan 

16. I larah Nur 

17. Kabul ami Neighbourhood 

18. Kclat i-tihil/.ai 

19. Kandahar 

20. Herat 

21. Routes of the chief Explorers of Baluchi- 


22 Passes in North Baluchistan 

23. East Mekran Seaboard .... 

'21. Inhabitants of Baluchistan 

25. Kalat and Neighbourhood 

20. GBNBRAL View or Km. at . . . . 

27. Kachi-Gandava I lasis .... 

28. Routes of the Chief Explorers of Persia 

since Marco Polo ..... 

29. Mountains ami I "asses of Vstrabad 

30. DeMAVEND — Views taken i rom the 

North-West ..... 

31. Savalan 

32. Khuzistan Border Range .... 

33. Lake Urmiah ...... 

34. Lakes Niris and Nargis . . . . 

lunas of Persia ..... 

36. Ki anigH Cavalry. .... 

37. Iiihaliitants of Persia . . . . 

Is PkksIAN Tvi'ls IMI CosTl MLS XoliI.EMAN, 

Debvish, and Mendicant 
39 Nobli l'i ksiak Lady .... 
lo. Vrzil ainj Neighbourhood .... 

41. TOWKBOF Mkimamian ON THE ROUTS 1 Rom 

1 I MOHAN i" Mi SHED .... 

42. Meshed and Kelat-i-Nadir 










































































1 03 















Kusliaa ami Smin ■ "f tin A trek 

Teheran ..... 
Teheban- View ihuv on the 

Takht-i-Sulaiman .... 
Hamadan and Mount Elvend 
The Resonant Lion oi II \mahan 
Ispahan and Environs 


Shiraz and Persepolis 
Valerian at the Feet oe Sapor— Bas 
relief op the Royal Tombs at Naksb 

i-Ri sti m, m:ui Persepolis . 
Ormiiz and Bandar-Abbas . 
Bushir ...... 

Kermanshah ..... 

Shuster and Band-i-Kir 

The Dam of Ahwaz .... 

Range of the Plague in Kurdistan 
Routes ami Telegraph-linos in Persia 
Routes of the Chief Explorers of Armenii 


Lake Van Taowan Bay ami Motn 


Populations of Turkish Armenia 

Catholic and Protestant .Missions amongst 

the Nestorians and Chaldeans 
Trehizond . . . . ■ 
Erzerum ..... 
Upper Mm nl Valley 
Bayazid— The Mosque and the 


Confluence of the Two Euphrates 
Lake Van ...... 

Town and Citadel op Van 

Mounds in the Tigris Valley, South o 

Seleucia ..... 
The Mardin Hills .... 
Source of the Western Tigris . 
CaRAVAN on the Ranks oe the Euphratei 
Windings of the Middle Euphrates . 
The Euphrates and Lake Nejef . . ■ 
Confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris 

Boats ON THE Eri'HKATER . 

Canals of Mesopotamia West of Bagdad 
Mouths of the Shat-el-Arab 
Diarbekir- Bridge over the Tigris 
Mossul and Niniveh .... 
Calash, and Confluence of Tigris and Great 


Hakkari Kurd Tribes, Great Zah Valley 




























i ia. 




Ailltab and Birejik ..... 






Okfa — Mosque and Fountain of Abba- 


ham ....... 



The Hound of Babil .... 



Babylon ....... 



Old Cities of Chaldea .... 



Old Provinces of Asia Minor . 



The Bulgar-dagh ..... 


Mount Argseus 



The Chimasra of Lycia .... 



Nisyros ....... 



Tmolus Valley. Plain of Sardis . 



Mytilene ....... 



Delta of the Kizil-Irmak .... 



Lake of Sabanja ..... 



Nicea and Ghemlik 



The Tnzla-Sn Valley . *. 



Smyrna Channel 



Palls of Pamduk-Kabeh, or Tambuk 



Plains of the Lower Meander . 



Lake of Egherdir .... 



Mouths of the Seihun and Jihun 



Villages of various Nationalities in the 


Dardanelles District . . ... 



Turkish Woman of Brussa . 



Inhabil ants of Anatolia . . . . 



Amabia — View taken from the South - 





Amasia ....... 


Samsun ....... 



Sinope ....... 






Remains of the Temple of Augustus 


and Rome at Ancyra .... 



Asiatic Suburbs of Constantinople . 



Street View, Scutari .... 



Environs of Scutari — Turkish Ladies 


Abroad ....... 



Ismid ....... 



Brussa ....... 



Tomb of Mahomet II. in the Green 


Mosque at Brussa .... 



Syzieus and Artaki Peninsular 


The Troad 








Pergamus — Ruins of the Basilica . 



Pei gamus ....... 



Phocea ....... 



Sardes — Columns of the Temple of 





Mount Sipylus. . . . . . 



Smyrna ....... 


Isthmus of Vurlah ..... 



Strait of Chios or Chesmeh 



Chio — View taken after the Earth- 


quake of 1S81 



Kphrsus ....... 



Ephesus— Prison of St. Paul 



strait of Tigani or Samoa 






Miletus and Didyma .... 334 

Budrun and Kos ..... 335 

Port of Rhodes 337 

Rhodes 338 

Valley of the Xanthus . . . .339 

Chief Itineraries of Lycia . . . 340 

F.lmalu 341 

Albistan and Marash .... 342 
Railways opened and projected in Asia 

Minor 344 

Cyprus 346 

Nicosia 349 

Larnaka and Famagusta .... 350 

Kerynia 351 

Limassol and Akrotiri Peninsular . . 352 

Passes of the Amauiis .... 355 

Beirut Hills 357 

The French Road 358 

Jebel Safa 360 

The Zerin Depression .... 361 

Peninsular ok Sinai — Ain-el-Hudekah 363 

Mount Serbal 364 

Mount Sinai 365 

Convent of Sinai 366 

Lake Yamuneh and Xahr-Ibrahim . . 368 

Gorge of the Xahr-el-Leitani . . . 369 

Sources of the Jordan .... 370 

Lake Huleh 371 

Dead Sea 373 

Landscape in the Sinai Peninsular — 

View taken at Raphidim . . . 375 

Inhabitants of Syria .... 378 

Horns 384 

The Ancient Tomb of Dana . . . 387 

Antioehia and Suedieh .... 388 

Latakieh 389 

Ruad and Tostosa 390 

Kalat-el-Hosan ..... 391 

Madgar Castle 392 

Tripoli 393 

Beirut 395 

Sidon . 397 

Tyre 398 

Damascus — View taken from the Chris- 
tian Quarter 401 

Damascus 402 

, Jebel Hauran and Bosra .... 406 

. Petra and the Arabah Depression . . 409 

. Lake Tiberias 410 

Jericho . . . • • • .411 
. Nazareth and Mount Tabor . . .412 

. Akka and Kaifa 413 

. Nablus 416 

. Remains of the Antonia Fortress, 

Jerusalem 418 

. Jerusalem 420 

Roi K Ol Masada 422 

. Masada 424 

. Jaffa 425 

.Tor -127 

. Itineraries of the Chief Explorers of 

Arabia ....... 432 

. The Mascat Highlands . . . .441 




Masandam Peninsular .... 

Sandstone Bills nbar Mbbiiakbx . 

View o* a Fclj in the Northern Num. 


Cjuriah Island, Gulf of Alcabah 
_"i i ill Banks in the Centra] Darin of the 

Red Sea 

205. Ttpes asu Costumes — Groi t <>i Arab 

W..MKN 170 



4 12 


1 li i rej oh . 










4. V.i 




II"<It'iil:ih an 

J Loheiyeh 



Mecca and J 

eddah . 


Medina . 





s *- 

1 J 000 OO'I 

— ss 







jHETHER the first Aryan hearths were kindled on the Bactrian 
plains, in the valleys of the Hindu-Kush or of the Caucasus, or on 
the steppes of Scythia, the attention of the European student is 
still directed by the oldest historic records chiefly to Egypt and 
Western Asia. Peering back in thought through the mist of ages, 

we see the now luminous lands of the West wrapped still in darkness, while a 
dazzling light is shed over the regions east of the Mediterranean — the Nile valley, 
the Ionian shores and isles, the Syrian coast, the Mesopotamian plains, and Iranian 
plateaux. The origin of our culture remains unrevealed, but in South- Western 
Asia must be sought the first germs of the civilisation which has grown up from 
age to age, until it has become the common patrimony of the peoples of Europe 
and the New World. For is it not here that the Hellenic myths have placed the 
first Olympian seats of the gods? And is it not here also that Jewish, Christian, 
and Mussulman legend has planted the "tree of life," beneath whose shade the 
first man and the universal mother awoke:' In Chaldea. amid the hills of the 
Indian Caucasus, in the oases of Irania, has been sought the terrestrial paradise; 
while the remains of the ark in which the Noachian family found refuge from the 
overflowing waters are still fabled to lie stranded on the Armenian Masis (Ararat). 
the Xizir of Kurdistan, the Persian Demavend, or some other lofty peak of Hither 


Asia. Later on, the Christiana spreading westwards and the Mohammedans over- 
running the east, multiplied endlessly the aumher of mountains " witnesses of 
the Deluge." Such witnesses maybe found in the Pyrenees, in Roussillon, and 
Andorra, even in Afghanistan, tin- Siah-Posh country, and the " Throne of 
Solomon," overlooking the plains of the Indus. 

At the dawn of history, properly so called, the firsl definite events arc referred 
to the south-western lands of Asia and to Egypt, which, cast of the Nile, was 
regarded by the ancients, and especially by Herodotus, as belonging to the Asiatic 
world. Here the national groups began to be classified under the names of Sem, 
Cham, and Japhet; perhaps also, according to many Orientalists, under those of 
Sumer and Accad, a contrast which reappears later on in the opposition of Persian 
and Mede, of Iran and Turan. The various peoples between the Central Asiatic 
plateaux, the isles of the Mediterranean, and the African deserts, arc numbered 
according to their races, usages, and industries, while on the Babylonian cylinders 
and prisms are inscribed ethnological and geographical documents of the highesl 
importance. One of the oldest myths relates the dispersion of the peoples at the 
foot of the Tower of Babel; but despite the "confusion" of tongues, Chaldean 
history begins to follow the career of each nation, recording its growth, wars, and 

The geographical form of Hither Asia —an expression comprising the whole of 
the Asia of the ancients as far as the Indus — sufficiently accounts for the pre- 
rogatives of this region as the cradle of early culture. Not only is it situated 
near the geometric centre of the lands forming the ancient world, but it at the 
same time oilers the easiest highways of communication between the three con- 
tinents and the great marine basins. The >*ilc valley is separated only by a strip 
of sand from those of the Syrian seaboard, while between the European and 
Asiatic shores there flows an arm of the sea narrower than many a river. From 
the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean, Hither Asia presents two natural routes — 
the Isthmus of Suez and the Mesopotamia^ plain, which is by far the more 
important in the history of civilisation, and which communicates through several 
openings with the Syrian seaports. The roads leading also from the Upper 
Euphrates down to the Euxine may be said to connect the Indian Ocean at once 
with the Mediterranean and with the lands facing the North Atlantic inlets, for 
the main axis of the highlands forming the European water-parting between the 
Alps and Balkans terminates on the Black Sea coast, while the Bessarabian low- 
lands ea>t of the Carpathians lead, by easy transitions, to the northern slopes of 
the continent. 

A large portion of Hither Asia consists of elevated tablelands, some standing 
even at a heighl of over 6,000 feet. But the seaboard is everywhere indented by 
deep gulfs and marine inlets. The Indian Ocean penetrates far inland between 
Mekran and < hnan, forming beyond the Strait of Ormuz the inland sea known as 
the Persian Gulf. On the opposite side of Arabia the Bed Sea fills a surprisingly 
regular depression in the crust of the earth, terminating on either side of the 
Sinai peninsula in secondary basins, also noted for their remarkable symmetry. 


The Mediterranean, flowing by Cyprus, describes a series of buys along the south 
coast of Asia Minor, and by a thousand channels and ramifications carves the 
side of the ^Egean into a second Greece, with its countless islands, peninsulas, and 

headlands. Another basin, which may be described rather as a vast laki the Sea 

of Marmora, or Propontis of the ancients — connects the Archipelago with the 
Kuxine, which flows eastwards to the foot of the Caucasus and Armenian high- 
lands. Lastly, the circle of marine waters round the Wes1 Asiatic seaboard is 
completed by the closed basin of the Caspian. Account must also be taken of 
lakes Urmiah, Van, and others, often large enough to present the aspect of oceanic 
gulfs. Here and there old marine inlets have been replaced by extensive plains, 
the most remarkable of which is the vast Mesopotamian valley, forming a con- 
tinuation of the Persian Gulf towards Alexandretta Bay, and dividing the whole 
of Mohammedan Asia into two distinct halves — Arabia, with the coast ranges of 
Syria and Palestine on the south, the highlands of Asia Minor and the Iranian 
plateaux on the north and east. 

Thanks to this disposition of the surrounding waters and inland plains, Hither 
Asia, centre of the Old World, is, at the same time, almost a peninsular region, 
and thus easily became, during the course of history, a common point of union for 
peoples of diverse origin and usages. Nowhere else have the rival races of the 
globe had more civilised representatives, sharply contrasting one with the other, 
than in this region. The North Asiatic hordes, now confused together under the 
collective name of Uralo-Altaic races, had penetrated into the uplands far south of 
the Oxus, assumed limit of Iran and Turan, and the struggle between these two 
ethnical elements has here been continued throughout historic times. It is even 
still maintained between the Persian and Turkoman, while the Mongol invasions 
are recalled by the presence of many popidations, notably the Hazarehs and 
Aimaks, south of the Hindu-Kush. Other ethnical elements belonging, if not to 
the black race, at least to that of the Kushites, a Negroid stock allied to the 
Ethiopian, were also diversely represented in these regions. Some trace of their 
presence on the plateaux of Susiana may be detected in the processions of captives 
figured on the bas-reliefs of Nineveh. Nimrod, the " mighty hunter before the 
Lord," is the legendary ancestor of these mythical peoples. 

The facility of communication between the two shores of the Eed Sea had also 
at all times brought about a mingling of the Arab and African races. Neverthe- 
less, the Negro element proper appears never to have had any relative importance 
in the history of the "West Asiatic peoples. The preponderating influence, enjoyed 
at first by the "Turanians" and Kushites, passed eventually to the Semites in the 
south and to the Aryans in the north. The whole of Arabia, as far as the 
Euphrates, is the domain of the former, while the latter prevail numerically on the 
Iranian plateaux, the Armenain highlands, and certain parts of Asia Minor. 

In the general historic movement Hither Asia preceded Europe ; but it was 
precisely in this direction that civilisation progressed. The commercial and intel- 
lectual axis of the Old World followed the direction from south-east to north- 
vest. Hence the zone of greatest vitality in the history of nations stretches from 


India and Mesopotamia through [onia, the Mediterranean peninsula, and France, 
to the British Isles. Before Europe formed part of the civilised world, commercial 
intercourse naturally found its chief centre in the regions of the Asiatic seaboard. 
The legend of the Argonauts and the Golden Fleece commemorates the relations 
formerly established between the Caucasian bighlandere and the Hellenic seafaring 
populations. But history speaks mine clearly of the great marls that flourished on 
the shores of Syria, and id' the services rendered to civilisation by the Phoenicians, 
not only by exploring the coast of West Europe and conducting caravans across 

Fig. 1. — Ethnical Divisions or Hither Asia. 
Scale 1 : 45,000,000. 



Fcrsians. Afghans. Hindus. Kafir, Dardes. B:iluc 

Kurik-. Greeks. 



I : 


Turks, Tatars. Turkomans. He2areh and others. Kirghiz. Georgians and others. Brahui. 


Caucasians. Dravidrms 


Arabs and Bedouin- ad others. Egyptians. Nubiazu and others. 


, 1,200 Miles. 

the natural lines of communication between the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean, 
but still more by spreading abroad a knowledge of the phonetic alphabet derived 
from the Egyptian hieroglyphics. Continually meeting with strangers speaking a 
thousand different tongues, the Phoenicians must have been struck especially by 
the great diversity of sounds which could he reproduced only by employing the 
signs used by the Egyptians to express ideas as well as the sounds of the corre- 
sponding words. Separating the most available symbols from the ideographic 
sense, the Phoenicians applied them exclusively to the reproduction of sound, thus 
emancipating the mind from the primitive symbolism, and imparting to written 


characters a purely phonetic value. Their geographical discoveries, their distant 
voyages round Europe and Africa, their inland travels up the great rivers and 
across portages, their traffic hi metals, woven goods, pottery, manufactured w 
of all sorts since discovered by archaeologists in so many lands, prepared the tribes 
of the western forests for a higher culture by developing trade and mutual inter- 
course among them. To the Phoenicians especially are we indebted for the work 
of prehistoric transition, without which the European world could never have 
entered on its historic career. To the civilised peoples of the future thev 
bequeathed, in the alphabetical system of writing, the true germs of progress from 
a chaos of hostile elements to a common humanity, and their work in this respect 
is justly symbolised by the travels of the Tyrian Hercules, conqueror of the world. 

Five or six centuries after the Phoenicians, the Hellenes dwelling on the coast 
of Asia Minor also took a large share in the discovery of the western regions. 
Their colonies were scattered along the Mediterranean shores as far as the Atlantic 
seaboard. As traders they introduced methods of exchange unknown even to 
the Phoenicians ; they developed a true coinage, whereas the dealers of Tyre and 
Sidon were still confined to a cumbrous system of barter. But how many other 
discoveries of a higher order than those associated with commercial pursuits are 
due to those Asiatic Greeks, precursors of Europeans in nearly all branches of 
human knowledge? Miletus, metropolis of so many colonics, was, twenty-five 
centuries ago, the chief centre of geographical studies. Here Thales taught the 
first principles of the subject, and here the earliest-known charts were planned by 
Anaxiniander, Ilecataeus, and Aristagoras. The neighbouring town of Hali- 
carnassus gave birth to Herodotus, "father of history and geography," the first 
comparative ethnographist, a charming writer, artless in his style, but always a 
shrewd observer, just and accurate in his conclusions, impartial enough to love the 
" barbarians " themselves while still assigning the first place to the Greeks, and 
especially to the Athenians. And how many other scarcely less illustrious names 
are the proud boast of that glorious land towards which we turn to hail the dawn 
of our intellectual life, and whence comes the distant echo of those Homeric songs 
irradiating the first essays of our forefathers on the path of human progress ? 

The name of Asia, or Asiadis, seems to have been originallv restricted to a 
simple province of Lydia, and afterwards gradually extended, first to the whole of 
the Anatolian peninsula, and then to all the continent, advancing, so to say, in the 
footsteps of the early explorers. Slowly it dawned on the Greeks how small was 
their Hellenic world east of the -Egean compared with the great Asiatic mainland. 
Nevertheless the expression Asia Minor sums up accurately enough the historic 
part played by the peninsula projecting between the Euxine and Cyprian waters; 
for those nations that failed to cross the Caucasus in their westward march wore 
thrown together at this extremity of the continent in a space confined on three 
sides by the sea. Pressing one on the other, nations and tribes of diverse origin 
were unable always to preserve their distinctive traits, and many became 90 
mingled together that it is no longer possible to recognise with certainty their 
ethnical elements. But in the vast laboratory of humanity nothing is ever lost 


utterly, and the genius of the various constituent races is -till reflected in the 
history of Asia Minor and in its influence on European culture. The northern 
tribes, commonly grouped under the general name of " Turanians," and often 

regarded as inferior to those classed as " Aryans," d >t appear to have played a 

less important part in the common work of progress than their neighbours. From 
them was acquired a knowledge of iron and the other metals," and to them also we 

are doubtless indebted for most of our domestic animals. At any rate, ill the lands 
occupied at the dawn of history by the Turanians, zoologists now seek the centre of 
dispersion of those animals which have become the chief companions of man. In 
the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates, at the foot of Ararat, on the slopes of the 
Caucasus, or on the Iranian plateaux, were grouped together the wild precursors of 

Fig. 2. — Asiatic Origin or vahious « dlttvatbd 1'lants. 
Scale 1 : *2ft.ixio,nno. 


pom* grannie 





[ • of Greenwich 

i'am) Miles. 

the domestic dog, of the ox, goat, sheep, pi<,'. perhaps also of the camel. Of the 
two primitive equine species one is supposed to have represented the " Aryan," the 
other the " Turanian " horse. 

From Hither Asia also probably came most of the more useful cultivated plants, 
such as the olive, the plum, almond, vine, and perhaps the peach ; flax, lucern, bean, 
pea, and above all wheat, barley, and oats.+ If such be the case, may not the old 
legend be right in placing the cradle of civilised man in the same regionP For 
what can the condition of the human animal have been before he knew how to 
cultivate the nourishing cereal symbolised by the Greeks under the form of the 
goddess-daughter of Demeter, now black and of awful mien, reigning over the 

• Rawlinson, " The Five Great Monarchies"; ICaspero, " Histoire Ancienne des Peuples de l'Orient." 
t Alphonse de Candolle, "Geographic Hotanique Raisonnee." 


shades of the dead, now fair and radiant, crowned with bluebells by the sparkling 
stream P 

The northern races also took a noteworthy share in the moral development of 
the peoples occupying the vast Anatolian quadrilateral. Their genius is revealed 
in the religions of the East, especially in the practice of magic analogous to the 
Shainanistic rites of the Samoyedes and Tunguses. From them came also those 
divinities which, as belonging to inferior peoples, were by the Greeks banished to 
the lower regions. Such were the hundred-armed monsters, the deformed beings 
who tear up the ores from the bowels of the earth and forge the metals in its 
echoing caverns swayed by Vulcan, the lame god, butt of Olympian wit and 
laughter. Like the Chaldeans, whose venerable astronomic system survives in the 
signs of the zodiac and in our duodecimal divisions and week of seven days, the 
Semitic or Semitised peoples of Asia Minor took also a twofold part in the develop- 
ment of nations, influencing them both by their commercial intercourse and religious 
ideas. In the Hellenic world the social groups assumed above all a civic character, 
whereas in Phrygia and the neighbouring states they formed so many " congrega- 
tions," in which the priest held sway in the name of the gods, and in which the 
temple always occupied the centre of the city. Those subtle eastern cults, which 
were associated especially with the worship of death, identified with life by the 
resurrection ever springing from the sacrifice, were even threatening to prevail 
over the joyous rites of Greece, when Christianity, traditionally attributed to a 
Semitic source, but already penetrated by Iranian elements and anticipated by the 
Alexandrian neo-Platonic philosophy, spread rapidly over the western world. In 
this religious revolution, which laid the temples of the gods in ruins, it was, 
perhaps, Asia Minor that took the largest share. It was Paul, a Cilician Jew, but 
already a Greek in temperament, that became the most zealous apostle of the new 
doctrine, preaching it no longer to the narrow circle of the children of Israel, but 
to the vast multitude of the Gentiles. From the earliest time of his propaganda 
the " Seven Churches of Asia " were the chief centres of proselytism, and when 
the now established religion of Christ formulated its dogma in precise terms, it was 
in the Anatolian city of Isica?a that were proclaimed the articles of faith still 
repeated in every Christian community. Then came, some centuries later on, the 
monotheism of the Arabian prophet, and it was in the Anatolian peninsula that 
were fought the great battles which sealed the triumph of the Crescent over the 
Cross in the Euxine basin. 

And the lands which were the scene of all these great events have again lapsed 
into the silence of death. These regions, legendary cradle of mankind and historic 
source of our culture ; this hallowed spot, where, towards the dawn <>i history, the 
poet reveals to us men and gods doing battle under the walls of Ilium ; these 
renowned cities, Babylon and Nineveh, Ecbatana and Susa, Iiaalbek and Palmyra. 
Antiochia and Damascus, which shine with such effulgence in the past, what arc 
they now compared with the western lands formerly held by a few painted 
barbarians, now crowded with vast multitudes, conquerors of the ancient solitudes? 
Within a brief three thousand years what an amazing contrast ! Then the 



Euphrates valley, succeeding to that of the Nile, tunned the centre of the western 
world, while Europe was the region of Cimmerian darkness, an unknown wilderness. 
Now the Focus of light lias moved westwards, and the Mast has become wrapped in 

In the Dumber of its inhabitants, known only approximately, Hither Asia has 
fallen quite as low as in the relative importance of its culture. The region 
stretching from the coast of ofakran to the Mgeaa Sea baa a superficial area equal 

Fig. 3. — Density of the Population of IIitukk Asia 

Scale 1 : 45,000,000. 

[nhaHtante per Squ.'ir, Mile. 




lto5. 6 to 10. 10 to 20. 20 to 60. 50 to 100. lou ami upwards. 

Each square represents a population of :?0,000 inhabitants. 
— 1.200 Miles. 

to about three-fourths of the European continent; but its population is probably 
ten times smaller, and. so far from increasing, seems to be actually diminishing. 
What are the causes of this decadence, whicb inspires so many eloquent pages to 
the historian and moralist '? Are they to he sought exclusively in the intestine 
wars and foreign invasions by which these lands have been so frequently 
wasted !' lint since the time of Attila, how many exterminators have overrun 
Europe in all directions! It must, however, he confessed that in Western Asia 
the urea of cultivation was relatively less extensive, and far more exposed to 


inroads than the European countries bordering on the Mediterranean and Atlantic. 
Between Persia and Asia Minor the habitable zone formed merely a narrow 
isthmus, like that connecting Egypt and Syria. Torn by incessant internal strife, 
the peoples of Iran, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Asia Minor were also exposed to the 
attacks of their southern and northern neighbours, the Arabs on the one hand, 
the Uralo-Altaic nomads on the other. These enemies, being protected by the 
wilderness, were unconquerable, and always ready to seize the favourable oppor- 
tunity in order to fall upon the settled districts, massacre the inhabitants, or 
carry them off into slavery. Several times during the historic period the 
spontaneous cultures of Western Asia were in this way mown down like the grass 
of the fields, and by none more frequently than by the ancestors of the Turk, who 
now rules over all the land west of Iran. And how few of these peoples have 
found within themselves sufficient elements of regeneration to recover their national 
independence ! The masses have remained in a state of shameful thraldom, 
consumed by vice as by a moral leprosy. 

To explain the disappearance of the populations, an argument has also been 
drawn from the assumed exhaustion of the soil, which formerly yielded abundant 
crops of cereals. The lands on the plateaux and slopes which are not exposed to 
periodical floodings, like the plains watered by the Tigris and Euphrates, are 
certainly, in coiirse of time, deprived of their chemical elements, and thus gradually 
become unproductive. The very works that were formerly most beneficial are now 
often injurious. Ruined buildings redden the soil with the dust of their crumbling 
brick walls, and the choked-up canals spread their sluggish waters over the plains. 
The arable lands are thus on the one hand invaded by the desert, while on the other 
fever and death are propagated by the ever-increasing marshy tracts. 

But whatever weight be assigned to these causes of decay, another must be 
sought in the gradual drying up of the land. Although everywhere surrounded by 
marine waters, the climate of Hither Asia is as thoroughly continental as the heart 
of the continent. Before meeting on the Iranian plateaux and Babylonian plains, 
the prevailing northern and southern winds have been deprived of all their 
moisture in their passage across thousands of miles of arid land. Hence the 
equatorial and north-east polar currents, which meet in Western Asia, are amongst 
the driest on the globe. Their track across Asia and Africa is indicated by the 
great desert zones of the Gobi and Sahara, while Persia, and especially Arabia, 
have their own sandy or stony wastes. These regions would be altogether 
uninhabitable but for the slight quantity of moisture, partly, however, arrested by 
the coast ranges, which is borne inland by the monsoons attracted from the sea bv 
the rarefied atmosphere of the heated soil. Such is the dearth of running waters 
that in the whole of Arabia there is not a single perennial stream ; while from 
Karachi to Teheran, a distance of nearly a thousand miles in a straight line, the 
traveller meets with no river more than two feet deep. The rainfall is insufficient 
to support a rich spontaneous vegetation anywhere except along the southern shores 
of the Caspian and Euxiue, where the northern winds traverse two marine basins 
before reaching the coast, and here and there on the Mediterranean, where the rain- 

lo soutii-\vi-:sti:i:n ASIA. 

bearing clouds are deflected towards tin- seaboard. The whole of Hither Asia, 
fifteen times larger than France, probably sends seawards a liquid maasbul Blightly 
greater than that of the French rivers. 

Although always less favoured in this respect than Western Europe, there are 
many indications that in Former times Hither Asia was more abundantly watered 
than at present. The descriptions of the old writers do not, on the whole, convey 
an idea id' such a lack of flowing waters as now exists. Even the nomads, dwelling 
iii the midst of rocks and sands on the skirt of the desert, could scarcely now 
regard Canaan as "a land flowing with milk and honey." Many formerly fertile 
regions also have 1 < *— t their forests, their aralile lands, even their grassy tracts and 
brushwood. How could the greal marts of the Ionian seaboard have acquired such 
importance if, behind the narrow zone of the coast region, there was not found a 
reserve of vital force in the plateaux sufficiently watered to support a much larger 
population than is now possible? And the cities of the wilderness — Palmyra and 
Baalbek, wealthy enough to build sumptuous temples, whose ruins still excite the 
wonder of the traveller — could scarcely have attained such splendour had they not 
been surrounded by more extensive oases, sufficient to supply abundant provisions 
to their inhabitants and the multitude of strangers visiting them. Modern explora- 
tion has revealed in Asiatic Turkey, Persia, and Baluchistan vast spaces, formerly 
thickly peopled, which have been changed to deserts. Cities have been partly- 
swallowed up in the encroaching sands; navigable rivers have Keen reduced to 
shallow streams, inaccessible to the smallest craft ; the site of ancient lakes is often 
indicated only by swamps or saline efflorescences. 

But notwithstanding the desiccation of the land, Hither Asia cannot fail to 
recover much of its former importance. The position to which it owed its prepon- 
derating share in the work of civilisation lost its value when the great highways 
of trade were deflected westwards. But the direct lines are resuming all their 
importance in international relations, and the main overland route from Europe to 
India is tending more and more in the direction of the Euphrates valley and the 
Iranian plateaux. Thus Western Asia again claims the advantages of its position 
as the geographic centre of the ( >ld World. The exact centre of the irregular 
figure formed by the three continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa is not far 
removed from the plains when stood the famous cities of Persia and Assyria. It 
lies at the south-west angle of the Caspian, so that the tower of Babel really stands 
where the legend placed it, on the confines of three worlds. Eastwards Asia 
stretches away to the ocean where " the sun rises ; " on the south the parched 
Arabian peninsula announces the neighbourhood of Africa ; while on the north- 
west Anatolia lies at the threshold of Europe. Through the Suez Canal, separating 
it from Africa, Hither Asia has again become for maritime trade the centre of 
gravity of the continental group; through the junction of the future railway 
systems it will also, sooner or later, become the central emporium of the Old 
World. According to the approximate estimates of the number of inhabitants of 
the eastern hemisphere, the centre of population would at present coincide with 
the south-western region of the Tibetan plateau — that is, with an almost unin- 




habited land. But the rapid increase of Europeans is deflecting the point of 
equilibrium more and more to the west, towards the passes of the Hindu-Kush, 
which are historically so important as highways of communication between the two 
halves of the Aryan world. 

Doubtless the assimilation of Hither Asia to the West in respect of its trade, 
industries, and general culture must prove a work of time and great difficulty. 
Nor can the material civilisation introduced from Europe fail to be affected by the 
genius of the East, in appearance so pliant, in reality so tenacious. The Asiatic 
will never slavishly accept the lessons of the foreigner. He modifies all he touches, 
and, to their cost, the Greeks and Romans already discovered what it meant to live 

Fig. 4. — Centkal Point of the Old World. 
Scale 1 : 200,000,000. 

Central Point without the islands. 

Central Point with the islands. 
3.600 Miles 

in the midst of those Oriental populations. Instead of playing the part of civilisers, 
they were themselves subdued by the manners and religions of the lands where they 
dwelt, and were fain to propagate them in the West. But at present, however 
original be their national characteristics, the Asiatic Greeks, the Armenians, and 
Syrians are being more and more attracted by the contemporary scientific movement. 
And what neglected resources, what undeveloped treasures, do not these peoples still 
possess! The reaction of civilising influences towards the East, which has already 
assimilated Hungary, the Danubian Principalities, Greece, and Russia, and which 
has already renewed the aspect of many Syrian or Greek cities in Western Asia 
itself, must necessarily spread towards the Euphrates and Iranian tableland. 



(bice before, (luring the Crusades, the conquest of the East was attempted by 
the European nations. For nearly two hundred years — from the end of the tenth 
to the cud of the twelfth century — an almost incessant moveinenl of warlike 
migrations was directed from Kurope against Asia. < >n the battle-tield fell 
hundreds of thousands, attracted mere by a love of conquest and plunder than 
by proselytising zeal. Millions of warriors, of captives, or retainers perished in 
the camp or on the march; yet alter two centuries of massacres and pestilence the 
Crusader-- had to abandon the Kast without retaining a single citadel on the main- 
land. Nevertheless, their efforts had the result id' delaying the fall id' the Byzan- 
tine Empire, by carrying far beyond the Bosphorus the scene of the struggle 

Fig. 5. — Centre of (jJuayity fob the Populations of the Old Would. 
Scale 1 : 200,000,000. 

Lonfettude of Gre 

Centre of gravity of the populations 
without the islands. 

Centre of gravity of the papulations 
with the islands. 

, 3.W0 Idea. 

between the two rival religions. The commercial populations of the Mediter- 
ranean, whether Christian or Moslem, were also brought into closer contact, while 
the Italian traders became familiar with till the highways of Hither Asia, gradually 
acquiring more wealth by peaceful mean- than the Crusaders had obtained by the 
sword. Certainly the political ascendency id' Europe could not have failed to 
increase rapidly in the East even, despite the fall of Constantinople, had not the 
circumnavigation of Africa, and especially the discovery of the New World, 
attracted the spirit of enterprise to other fields, and transferred to the Iberian 
peninsula the commercial pre-eminence hitherto enjoyed by Italy. The dis- 
coveries of Columbus obliged Europe, so to say, to turn to the rightabout, thus 


giving to the Eastern peoples a respite of three hundred years in the hereditary 
-tiuirgle which may be said to have begun in mythical times by the Argonautic 
expedition and the Trojan war. 

At present the pressure of the West is felt more strongly than ever, although 
the religious fervour of the days of the Crusaders has been nearlv eliminated from 
the " Eastern Question." If the Western nations eared now to recover Jerusalem, 
the only difficulty would be, not the conquest, but the appointment of guardians 
from amongst the rival Protestant, Catholic, or Greek claimants to the possession 
of the Holv Sepulchre. The partition of the Mohammedan world has, in fact, 
already begun, not only in European Turkey, but throughout the whole of Western 
Asia. Not satisfied with the occupation of the Trans-Caucasian valleys of the Kur 
and Rion, Russia has seized the most formidable strongholds in the Armenian 
highlands, and now holds the passes enabling her to hurl her armies at pleasure 
on Constantinople, Aleppo, or Bagdad. Beyond the Caspian they have also 
occupied more than one position whence they might easily assail the vital strategic 
points of Persia ; while the conquest of the Turkoman oases places them at the very 
entrance of the highway to India through the Ileri-rud valley. 

Their English rivals for the political hegemony of Asia have on their part 
strengthened their outposts by the occupation of Cyprus, which commands at once 
the Anatolian and Syrian seaboards, close to the great bend of the Euphrates and 
to the regions directly threatened by the Russians in Armenia. At the entrance 
of the Red Sea, on the main route of steam navigation, they also hold the citadel 
of Aden, while a few subventions distributed among the tribal chiefs render 
them predominant over all the populations along the seaboard. In many inland 
cities of Persia, Anatolia, and Irak Arabi, the British consuls are moreover far more 
the masters than the provincial governors themselves. Amongst the Maronites 
and Druses of the Syrian ranges the suzerainty of France has been often admitted, 
often disputed, according to the oscillation of political rivalries. Jerusalem itself 
has been placed, through the embassies, under the joint control of all the European 
powers, each enjoying in its turn a preponderating voice according to the influences 
prevailing for the moment in the Golden Horn. 

The two religions that took their rise in Palestine are now represented in 
Hither Asia only by a few relatively unimportant communities. The Jews are 
nowhere numerous except in Jerusalem and some of the surrounding towns, while 
the Christian congregations flourish chiefly in the shadow of the Holy Sepulchre 
and some other venerated spots. Elsewhere they are almost exclusively confined 
to the Lebanon, and to the Hellenic and Armenian districts of Asia Minor. Most 
of the inhabitants of Asiatic Turkey, and nearly the whole of the population in 
the other regions of Hither Asia, are followers of the Prophet. Arabia, where 
stand the holy cities of Islam, and whence the faith was propagated over the 
rest of the world, is still the true centre of Mohammedanism, and here dwell its 
zealous apostles. But notwithstanding their religious fervour, a uniform creed 
has tailed to give political cohesion to this section of the continent. The 
Pan-Islamitic coalition, of which so much has recently been heard, can never be a 



source of anxiety to the European powers contending for supremacy in the Bast 
The zealous Wahabite sect, which professes scrupulous observance of the Prophet's 
teaching, is numerous only in the interior of Arabia, where it is shut oft from all 
contacl with the miter world. On the other hand, most of Mohammedan Asia is 
divided between the Turkish Sunnites and Persian Shiahs, who mutually detesl 
each other, and who often regard the Giaour himself as Less impure than a 
member of the rival sect. In many places religious indifference is universal, ami 
must of the Bedouins have never known any god excepl their lance, with which 
they fall at times even on the pilgrims returning from Mecca. Amongst the 

Fig. G — Relioions op Hither Asia. 
Scale 1 : 45,000,000. 

sumii . - gbxitec u ■■- Dnuea Anaarieh. Greeka. Armenians Seatorianfl Ma renitca 

Mussulmans Chriitjani 

other Religions. 

W/idi. Parsis. Buddhists. Hindu Jews. 

^__^_^_^_^^____— 1,200 Miles. 

majority of the Turks themselves the faith has lost its active force, degenerating 
into a dreary fatalism, forerunner of death. If conversions to Christianity arc 
all but unknown, this resistance must be attributed not to their religious com ictions 
SO much as to long political rivalry, to traditional hatred, and to the thousand 
contrasts presented by different social usages and habits of thought. 

But apart from this lack of political and moral cohesion, the geographical 
condition of the land itself must always prevent its inhabitants from combining 
successfully against the European powers. By vast deserts and waterless wastes 
these Asiatic regions are divided into distinct sections, without any means of 
intercommunication except by the high seas, which are controlled by the fleets of 


the West. Even by its two chief rivers, the Euphrates and Tigris, "Western Asia 
is, so to say, divided from the strategic standpoint into two parts, connected only 
by a narrow mountainous isthmus between the head of the fluvial navigation and 
Russian Caucasia. Politically, Pan-Islamism is far less formidable in the land of 
its birth than in India, where fifty million Mohammedans are united by a common 
worship and a common patriotic sentiment, or even in Africa, where unknown 
multitudes are massed geographically together, and still animated by the fiery 
spirit of proselytism. 



Kafihistan, Kabul, Hi. hat, Kasdaiiak. 

BROUGH the Easl Afghan uplands, limited northwards by the 
snowy Eindu-Kush or Indian Caucasus, Either Asia reaches the 
• iicai Pamir, or " roof of the world," which forms the orographic 
centre "1' the continent, and the converging-point of the Anglo- 
Indian, Chinese, and Russian Empires. Eere the plateau, above 
which rise some of the highest peaks on the globe, c\ceed> in altitude the loftiest 
Pyrenean crests; yet a little farther west lie the passes that have at all times been 
the most frequented between the Turkestan depression and the Indus valley. 
Hence the extreme military importance of Afghanistan, and the still greater pari 
it lias played m the history of trade and migrations. 

Although the early migratory movements of the Aryans across the mountains 
are mentioned neither in tradition nor in legend, nevertheless the close resem- 
blance, amounting almost to identity, in the religious rites and ceremonies, in 
i lie languages and civilisations, of the peoples dwelling on tin 1 hanks of the "seven 
rivers" of Irania and the "seven rivers" of India, leave no douhl that the passes 
between the two regions were well known and frequented from the remotest times. 
The expeditions of Alexander, followed by the establishment of the Graoco- 
Bactrian states, stretching probably into the heart of India, again connected the two 
extremities of the Aryan world through these defiles "I' the Ilindu-Kush. Later 
on the same passes were chosen by the liuddhist missionaries to bring India into 
relation with the regions of North Asia and the far East. The colossal images 
iinril ages ago ou the rocks at Bamian have been witnesses of many a warlike, 
religious, or commercial expedition by which the course of human events has 
been largely influenced. The same highways have been traversed bj Mongols, 
Turks, and Persians; and now Russians and English, encamped on the Oxus or 
behind the fortified lines of Peshawar, await, in the popular belief, the signal to 
renew the secular struggle for empire. 

At this point the plateau separating the Indus valley from the Turkestan 
slope- scarcely exceeds 180 miles. Kabul, already thrice seized by the British, 


stands within some sixty miles from the highest pass leading to what may now be 
called the Russian slope. English guns and Muscovite envoys have already 
crossed this very pass of Bamian. Towards the north-west of Afghanistan the 
mountain barrier disappears altogether between Merv and Herat, where no serious 
obstacle stands in the way of military expeditions. In a few days a gang of 
European " navvies " might now complete the carriage route leading from the 
Caspian to Kandahar.* 

Afghanistan may altogether be regarded as a land of transition. It is the 
Roh or highland region mentioned by the old writers as comprised between Iran, 
Turan, and Hind. Forming the eastern continuation of the Iranian plateau, it 
separates one from the other the two centres of civilisation in the Indus and 
Euphrates valleys, and its chief importance is consequently due to the routes 
traversing it between these two regions. Its cities, standing either in fertile 
valleys, in the midst of oases, or at the entrance of mountain gorges, are mentioned 
in history mainly on account of their strategic value, and of the advantages they 
afford to armies marching to the conquest or defence of distant territories. Hence 
the expression " key of India," so often applied to Herat, to Kandahar, Ghazni, or 
Kabul. " Since the remotest times," wrote Akbar's historiographer, Abu 1 Fazel, 
in 1602, " Kabul and Kandahar are regarded as the gates of Hindustan ; one opens 
the road from Iran, the other from Turan, and if these points be well guarded, 
the vast empire of India is sheltered from foreign invasion." 

Yet, notwithstanding the military expeditions that have so frequently tra- 
versed the land, and despite the labours of numerous explorers, such as the two 
Conollys, Lord, Forbes, Burnes, and others, Afghanistan cannot yet be called a 
well-known region. Several routes carefully laid down by Government surveys 
have long remained sealed documents, while the valuable charts accompanying 
them have become mildewed in the portfolios of the India Office. The districts 
lying at a distance from the strategic routes have remained unexplored, and most 
of the travellers who have recently penetrated into the country have followed in 
the wake of the military expeditions. The direct route from Kabul, through the 
nezareh territory to Herat, has not yet been traversed by any European. Mac- 
Gregor, who last attempted to penetrate in this direction from Persia, was dis- 
owned by the pusillanimous British authorities, and compelled by the Amir to 
retrace his steps. At the same time the isolated masses and ridges everywhere 
intersecting the base of the plateau transform many districts into a labyrinth of 
mountain gorges and valleys, rendered still more inaccessible by their savage 
denizens. Apart from the various routes between Kabul, Kandahar, and certain 
regions bordering on India, the surface of the country is only roughly sketched on 
our maps from the itineraries of European explorers, and the points astronomically 
determined by them, chiefly towards the Persian ami Indian frontiers. 

Nor are there any accurate returns of the population, the only census ever 
taken having been made by Nadir Shah for the purpose of determining the taxa- 
tion and military conscription. On the basis of this rough calculation, the various 

• l.issar, Rawlinson, Marvin, "The Russians at Iferv and Herat." 


tribes are still estimated at so many hundred or bo many thousand families, 



8 1 'THi , * law 

■ - 

V A>' 

notwithstanding all the wars, crossings, and migrations that have taken place ■ 



during the last hundred and fifty yours. Present estimates range from three to 
five millions and upwards for Afghanistan proper. 

Afghan Highlands. 

Disregarding the irregularities of its political frontier, Afghanistan may be 
described as a plane inclining to the south-west from the north-east corner of 
Kafiristan to the marshy depression into which are discharged the waters of the 
llilmend. The upper borders of the plateau are enclosed by two lofty barriers ; on 
the north the Hindu- Rush, with its western continuation, sometimes designated by 
the classic name of the Parapomisus ; on the east the Sulaiman-dagh, with a 
number of secondary chains. "Within these two frontier ranges the ridges and 

Fig. S. — Itineraries of Afghanistan. 
Scale 1 : 13,000,000. 

[. afG 

r ~] 

. ._ 


3,300 to 6,600 fi,600 to 13,200 

Feet. Feet. 

13.200 and 

300 Miles. 


intermediate river valleys intersecting the plateau run in various directions, but 
mainly follow the general tilt of the land from north-cast to south-west. 

Of all the Afghan ranges, the loftiest and most regular is the Hindu- Koh, or, 
"Mountain of the Hindus," better known as the Hindu-Kush, or " Hindu killer," 
probably in allusion to the mortality of the traders who risk their lives amidst its 
snows in order to retail their wares to the '1'ajiks and Uzbcgs of Turkestan. To 
the same range modern writers have applied the expression " Indian Caucasus," 
whereas by the Greeks it was called the " Caucasus " simply, regarding it as a 
continuation of the Ponto-Caspian ranges. 


Although forming a south-western continuation of the Karakorum range, the 
Hindu-Kush i- separated from thai system by a profound gap to the north of the 
Upper V;i-in valley. The gorge traversed by tin Mastuj, a tributary of the 
Chitral, leads by easy stages across the pastures to the broad, grassy Baroghil Pass, 
where the inhahitants of the upper Oxus graze their cattle. According to the 
■• Mollah," or native explorer, who crossed this pari of the parting-line in 1874, 
this pass is only 12,000 feet high ; and Biddulph tells us thai at this point the great 
divide between the Indus and Oxus basins might easily be crossed in a wheeled 
waggon. The highest summits occur farther south in a chain which run- from the 
western extremity of the Karakorum in a south-west direction between the Mastuj 

Fig. 9. — The Eastern Hindu-Kush. 
Scale 1 : 1,250,000. 



74- Lcfbr 

■' < Mil. -. 

and the rivers flowing to the 'Jilirit and the Indus. This lateral ridge, sometimes 
known as the " Lahori Mountains," from a central pass of that name, rises at 
certain points to elevations of 19,200, 19,700, and even 22,800 feet. 

Towards the west and south-west the Hindu-Kush gradually increases in eleva- 
tion, attaining an altitude of over 25,000 feet in the Tirich-mir, a rival of the 
Karakorum giants. l>ut even here the range i- crossed by the practicable Nukaan 
Pass at a height of 16,000 feet ; and farther west by two others, the Ehartaza and 
Dora, of which the latter appears to he the easiest, with an estimated altitude of 
16,000 feet. Beyond these peaks the water-parting between the streams flowing 
south through Kafiristan and north to the Badakshan and Kunduz, has not yet been 
visited by Europeans. But we know that the Kafirs of the southern slopes drive 


their herds to the northern pastures, bo that here also the main range presents no 
impassable barriers. West of the Anjuman Pass, the better-known section, which 
describes a crescent about 120 miles long, with its converse side facing north-west- 
wards, is broken by some twenty gaps varying in height from 11,000 to 15,000 
feet, and sometimes accessible even to caravans of camels. Amongst those 
mentioned in history are the Kawak, immediately west of Anjuman, probably used 
by Alexander, and crossed by the pilgrim H'wen-tsang on his return to China, as 
well as by the English travellers, Wood and Lord, on their return to India; the 
Thai, crossed by Tamerlane ; the Sbibr, east of Bamian, the most frequently men- 
tioned in Sultan Baber's memoirs; the Kuchan, about the middle of the crescent, 
probably the most frequented at present. The peak which rises above this pass 
to an absolute height of nearly 20,000 feet, and which is more specially known 
as the Hindu-Koh or Hindu-Rush, is visible both from Kunduz on the north and 
from Kabul on the south. Xowhere else does the chain present a more imposing 
aspect, being here completely encircled on the north by the valleys of the Surgh-ab 
and Inder-ab, whose junction forms the Kunduz or Ak-Serai, and on the south by 
those of the Ghorband and Panjir, both of which flow to the Kabul River. The 
northern slope presents an almost perfectly regular outline, forming an inclined 
rampart, black at the base, white at the summit, streaked by the horizontal snow- 
line, varying with the seasons. Southwards the contrast is perhaps still more 
striking between the rugged hills and the magnificent vegetation of the valleys, 
including as many as fifty species of the tulip. 

The vast triangular space comprised between the Hindu-Kush and the Lahori 
chain is almost entirely occupied by mountain ranges falling gradually towards 
the south-west. Although European explorers have failed to penetrate into much of 
this territory, they have succeeded in measuring from a distance a large number of 
peaks ranging from 14,000 to 16,000 feet in height. Some of the crests within 24 
miles of the Kabul River still retain an elevation of 10,000 feet, while their spurs, 
scored by erosive action, are continued southwards to the Setid-Koh, forming a suc- 
cession of wild gorges and ravines between the Kabul plain and the Peshawar basin. 
Some 60 miles south-west of the Anjuman Pass these rugged highlands are broken at 
short intervals by three profound fissures, through which the three rivers Panjir, 
Parwan, and Ghorband escape to the Kabul. Farther on the main range is con- 
tinued by the Paghman chain, the first barrier which travellers have to cross on 
the direct route between Kabul and the Bamian Pass. After reaching the Unah 
or Honai Pass, about 5,000 feet high, this stony but far from difficult highway 
dea ends into the Hilmend valley, beyond which it winds up the Hajikak and Irak 
slopes. In 1839 and 1840 the English carried their held artillery without much 
difficulty over the Irak Pass. 

The preference given to the Unah Pass as the ordinary caravan route explains 
the position of the Afghan capital in the narrow basin which it now occupies. As 
a city of war and commerce, it was necessarily founded in the immediate vicinitj oJ 
the main route followed by caravans and armies. When the main highway crossed 
the Ghorband Pass, the capital stood at the outlet, of three valleys, converging 


towards the Daman-i-Koh plain, where all the paths are united from the eighteen 
practicahle passes of the Hindu-Kush. Here doubtless also stood "Alexandria ad 
Caucasom," the city buill by the Macedonian conqueror to guard the point where 
the mutes diverge towards Bactriana. No better site could have been chosen, either 

for its strategic and commercial importance, or for the fertile soil, abundant water, 
and natural beauty of the surrounding district. Although standing at a mean 
elevation of 6,000 feet above the sea, the plain, the largest in the whole of north- 
east Afghanistan, lies in the same latitude as Cyprus, Crete, and Tangier. Hence 
it enjoys a temperate climate, with a vegetation corresponding to that of Southern 
Europe. Here the open spaces are shaded by the plantain ; the apricot and other 
fruit-trees cluster round the villages ; the mulberry and vine clothe the lower 
terraced slopes of the hills; grassy tracts, varied with tobacco and corn-fields, 
and the vivid colours of the garden-plots contrast pleasantly with the brown or 
yellowish hues of the rocky escarpments and the glittering peaks of the 1 1 indu- Kush 
bounding the northern horizon. 

East of the Daman-i-Koh, at the foot of the heights of Kohistan, and at no 
great distance from the Panjir River, lies the little desert of lleig Rawan, or 
" Moving Sands." Here the silicious particles blown about by the winds and 
tailing into the rocky fissures of the ground produce a sound resembling the 
distant beat of the drum, accompanied by an aerial music like that of the a-olian 
harp. Hence the legends of armies swallowed up in the sands, whose martial 
strains continue to echo beneath the surface. 

West of the passes leading to Bactriana, the great divide, here about 120 miles 
broad, consists of steep parallel chains running mainly east and west. These 
highlands, held by the He/arch tribes of Mongol stock, are still almost an 
unknown land, overshadowed, as it were, by the mighty Koh-i-Baba, which rises in 
isolated majesty north of the Upper Hilinend valley, to an extreme height of 
17,800 feet. Another peak in the centre of the system also attains an elevation of 
over 16,000 feet, and there may be other snowy crests still farther west; for these 
highlands, apparently the Parapomisus of the ancients, are known between the 
sources of the Murgh-ab and the course of the Upper Heri-rud, by the local name 
of Sefid-Koh, or " White Mountains." Ferrier, who traversed them in the middle 
of July, expressly states that the elevated peaks are snow-clad throughout the 
year. Northwards they arc flanked by another chain, also running east and west, 
the Tirband-i-Turkestan, southern rampart of the Oxus plains. 

But as it advances westwards the Sefid-Koh falls gradually to the Mazret-i-Baba 
(Karrel-i-Baba) Bass, which is crossed by the Maimeneh route north-east of Herat, 
and which is free from snow from the end of April to December.* Farther on 
nothing remains except the low Barkhut ridge, falling to about 1,000 feet at the 
I lit shmeh-sebz and Khombu Basses on the route between Herat and the Murgh-ab 

The Upper Heri-rud valley is skirted southwards by the Siah-Koh, or "Black 
Mountains," which also run from the Koh-i-Baba east and west parallel with the 
* Grodekov, " Bulletin of the Paris Geographical Society," August, 1880. 



Sefid-Koh. South of Herat this range forms the continental water-parting, and is 
crossed at an elevation of nearly 0,500 feet by the direct route between Herat and 
the Hilmend basin. Its western continuation forms a junction with the Khoras-au 
uplands at the pyramidal Siang-i-Tokhter, whilst on the south the territory of Giir — 
that is. "highlands" — is scored by countless river valleys running mainly in a 
south-westerly direction towards the desert. But about the centre of this almost 
unknown rugged region rises the Chalap-dalan, which from its form and the 
multitude of hot springs welling at its foot appears to be of volcanic origin, and 
which is said by Ferrier to be "one of the highest on the globe." In the middle 
of July he saw it still covered with snow, below which its grassy and wooded 

Fig. 10.— The Western Hindu-Kvsh. 
Scale 1 : 2,300,000. 




^ \ ,•■•• .Zp ... JTchBriKaHA , 


00 Miles. 

lower slopes occupied a vast space studded with villages and nomad encampment-. 
This appears to be one of the richest mineral regions of Afghanistan, containing 
unworked mines of gold, silver, copper, lead. iron, sulphur, coal, besides rubies and 

Besides the western Sefid-Koh, another sy-teni bearing the same name and far 
better known in the military history of Asia, occupies the north-eastern section of 
Afghanistan south of the Kabul Biver valley. Under it- Afghan name of Spin- 
ghur, also meaning " White Mountains," the main range runs east and west for a 
distance of 120 miles at a nearly uniform elevation of considerably over l'.'.OOO 
feet. The culminating peak, which has preserved its Sanskrit name of Sikaram. 
attains a height of 15,500 feet, and this is flanked eastwards bv the Keraira, 


almost rivalling it in altitude and majesty. Despite it* name, the Sefid-Koh is not 
snow-clad throughout the year, nothing remaining from August to January but a 
tr« white Btreaks, except perhaps in Borne of the gorges sheltered From sun and 
wind. These imposing highlands, which everywhere abound in 1 1n- grandest 
scenery, have been traversed in all directions by British officers and explorers, who 
ascended si\ el' the highest summits in L879. The Sefid-Koh lies en the British 
side of the " scientific frontier " recently laid down, hut subsequently abandoned to 
the Afghan tribes. Hut the sites of future encampments and health results are 
marked en the charts in the neighbourhood of the- passes, near the running waters 
and weeded slopes. 

At its western extremity the Setid-Koh projects northwards a number of spurs, 
radiating like the ribs of a fan in the direction of the Hindu- Kush system, from 
which they are separated only by the gorges of the Kabul River. Of these spurs 
the Loftiest is the Karkacha ridge, terminating near the river in the Siah-Koh, or 
'• Black Mountain," which is so called by contrast with the snowy peaks of the 
main range. The Karkacha is crossed by the pass of like name (N.000 feet ), and 
farther north by the less elevated Jagdalak J'ass, near Oandamak, names ever 
memorable in the annals of Angle-Afghan warfare. The Lataband, llaft-Kotal, 
Khurd-Kahul and other passes over the more westerly spurs are all alike equally 
associated with the triumphs or disasters of the British arms during their three 
invasions ef Afghanistan. The route skirting the southern foot of the Sefid-Koh 
has also acquired great strategic importance, and during the last war the l'aiwar- 
Ketal, south of Sikaram peak, and Shutar-gardan ("camel's neck ") at the south- 
west corner of the Sefid-Koh, became familiar sounds. 

At the eastern extremity of the main range the most famous pass is the 
Khaibar, which, to avoid the gorges of the Kabul River, bends south and west of 
Mount Tartara (6,850 feet ), and rejoins the river over against I.alpura, 40 miles 
above the plain. The overhanging cliffs on either side are crowned with forts, 
some in ruins, seme still standing ; and other monuments, such as topes and tombs, 
attest the former presence of peaceful as well as warlike elements: fer the 
Buddhist missionaries had frequented this route long before it was followed by 
Mahmud the ( ihazne\ ide, Baber, Akbar, Nadir Shah, Ahmed Shah, and the British 
generals. Here Akbar constructed a waggon-road; but Alexander and the first 
conquerors of India appear to have passed north of the Kabul River through the 
Yiisuf-zai territory. 

The southern ramifications of the Sefid-Koh maybe regarded as collectively 
forming the outer scarps of the Afghan tableland. Each of the successive terraces 
is separated from the previous by a border chain Less elevated above its western 
than above its eastern base. Hence in ascending from the banks of the Indus to 
the grassy inner gfa ppes, the traveller passes through a series of steep slopes, 
separated from each other by terraces of varying width. The chain usually known 
as the western Sulaiman-dagh is the loftiest, if not in its isolated peaks, which 
have net \et lieeti BUrveyed, at all events in the mean altitude of its crest. South 
of the Shutar-gardan Pass, separating it from tie Sefid-Koh, it runs mainly iu the 



direction of Baluchistan, where it forms the outer wall of the plateau west of the 
Kachi-Gandava deserts. The western Sulaiman-dagh thus constitutes the parting- 
line between the waters flowing east to the Indus, and west to the inland basins of 
the tableland. It also forms a political frontier between the western tribes, who 
recognise the Amir's authority and those to the east, who ~t ill enjoy a certain 
independence, and pay the taxes only when they cross the border with their flocks. 
On most maps another central Sulaiman chain is traced from Mount Sikaram 
in the Sefid-Koh southwards beyond the Paiwar-Kotal ; but it doe- not appear to 
form a continuously regular range, natives who have traversed the country speak- 
ing only of a rugged plateau without any well-defined mountain system. Still 
farther east the various ridges, exclusive of the detached groups projecting 
towards the Indus, are all comprised under the general name of the Eastern 
Sulaiman-dagh, or Mihtar Sulaiman. Although cut into numerous sections by the 
Kuram, Tochi, Gomul, Zhob, and other streams rising in the western ranges, they 

Fig. 11. — The Sefld-Kob of Ea.-t Afghanistan. 
Scale 1 : 2,400,000. 

60 ililes. 

none the less constitute a remarkably uniform orographic system. Wooded slopes 
are ran- on the scarps facing the Indus valley, which in the glare of the sun glow- 
like a furnace, while the heat reflected by their white, red, or yellowish rocky walls 
becomes at times quite intolerable. 

The various lateral sand-tone or limestone chains run in nearly parallel lines 
either north and south or north-east and south-west, and all -lope gently west- 
wards, hut fall abruptly towards the Indus. South of the Gomul Pass there are 
-even of these parallel ridges, and still farther south as many as twelve have been 
reckoned near the Suri River. The higher western ranges visible above the others 
from the Indus valley are sometimes by the Afghans called the Koh-i-Siah (Siah- 
Koh), or "Black Mountains," while the lower part of the system is designated by the 
name of Koh-i-Surkh (Surkh Koh), or " Red Mountain-." At interval- the rai 
are pierced by darahs, or gorges, between whose vertical walls intermittent torrents 
rush down during the rainy season. The Eastern Sulaiman-dagh culminates with 


the Pirgul peak (11,800); lmt the most famous tri-< >n j > is the Takht-i-Sulaiman, or 
" Throne of Solomon," whose twin peaks are visible from the plains. The northern 
and most elevated (estimated at from 11,000 to 11,400 feet) is one of the many 

spots where Noah's ark is supposed to haw rested, while a niche cut in the rock 
represents the "throne" whence Solomon contemplated the \ast abyss of the 
universe. Towards the southern extremity of the Sulaiman-dagh occurs the wooded 
and well-watered liorai valley, which, thanks to its easy incline, seems destined 
one dav to become the chief route from Multan to the Afghan plateau. 

West of the border range the section of the plateau comprised between the 
northern and eastern highlands is intersected by no ridges rising more than 'J, (too 
or "J, olll) feet above the surrounding country. Except at their junctions, these 
ridges run uniformly north-east and south-west, falling gradually towards their 
southern extremity. The most important between the llilmend and Tarnak Rivers 
i^ the Grul-Koh, or "Blue Mountain," so named from the flowers covering its 
slopes. North of Ghazni the Sher-dahan Pass, leading to the Logar valley and 
Kabul, still maintains an elevation of 9,000 feet, whereas the crests overlooking the 
plain of Kandahar nowhere reach a height of li.oOO feet. 

South of the Kandahar plain other chains connected with the main range of the 
western Sulaiman-dagh rise to a considerable elevation, forming towards Baluchistan 
a double barrier, which the English still hold as their most advanced outpost since 
their withdrawal from Kandahar. The Khwaja Amran, or northern ridge, is 
crossed by the famous Khojak Pass at an elevation of 7,600 feet. Although this 
route has been usually followed by the British armies, the line of the future 
railway to Kandahar has been traced through the far less elevated Gwaja Pass, 
beyond which the hills merge in the Shorawak territory, west id' the farthest point 
surveyed by the English officers. The ridge running south of the Khwaja Amran, 
although higher, presents more practicable passes. Here the Takatu, with its twin 
] icaks, attains an altitude of over 1 '2,000 feet. Met ween the two ranges stretches the 
fertile Pashang basin, wrongly called the Pishin valley, a district of greal strategic 
importance, traversed by the brackish Kakar Lora, the official frontier towards 

Afgiiw IIivki: Svsii.vis. 

All the Afghan rivers, except those rising in the Hindu-Rush and eastern 
Sefld-Koh, How to closed basins, or else run dry in the sands before reaching their 
natural seaward outlets. Nearly all the waters of the north-east highlands are 
collected by the Kabul River, whose volume is probably equal to that of all the 
other Afghan streams together. The Kophes, Kophen, or Kabul, whose valley has 
been followed by all the conquerors id' India, rises at the foot of the Paghman 
hills, and below the city whence it takes its modern name is joined by the more 
copious Logar, led partly by the torrents flowing from the (ihazni hills, farther 
down comes tin- l'anjir, formed by all the streams which the snows of the Ilindu- 
Kush send to the Daman-i-Koh plain. Below this confluence the main stream 



receives on both its banks smaller contributions from the Nangnahar uplands on 
the south and the Lakhman or Lamghan district on the north. A few miles below 
Jalalabad the Kabul is probably doubled in volume by the Kunar, which rises at the 
Baroghil Pass, under the name of Mastuj, and takes the appellation of Chitral and 
Kamah. As in Kashmir and the Himalayas, the torrents in this highland region 
are crossed by frail bridges of the willow and twining plants ; but large rivers, such 
as the Kunar and Swat, are traversed by means of inflated skins, as in the Panjab. 

Pig. 12. — The Kabul River — View takes near Cizergao, Shardeh Valley. 

The last important stream joining the Kabul is the Swat, with its tributary the 
Panjkora, often called the Landi Sind, or " Little Indus," to distinguish it from 
the Abu Sind, or " Great Indus." In the British province of Peshawar both 
streams mingle their waters, and after irrigating the whole of the Peshawar plain, 
the Kabul seems scarcely inferior in volume to the Indus at its confluence with 
that river above Attock. 

South of the Setid-Koh the Kuram is the only perennial stream flowing east to 


ih. Inilu-. All the rest, rising on the Sulaiman >l<>]ns, either run oul in the Bands 
or are exhausted in irrigating the land before reaching their natural nutlet. Thus 
the Gomul, with a basin, according to Walker, 13,000 square miles in extent, and 
which sometimes spreads oul t<> a width of 1" miles on the plains, remains without 
a drop of water during the dry season. In Afghan Turkestan, the rivers of the 
Kliiilm. Balkh, Siripul, and Maimeneh districts also run oul before reaching the 
( >xus. In the Bame way the Murgh-ab i> used up in the irrigation canals of the 
Mcrv oasis : while the Heri-rud, or " river of Herat," rising between the Sefid and 
Siah-Koh, after a longer course westwards to the Persian highlands, ultimately 
disappears in the Turk. -tan sands onder the name of the Tejes (Tejend). Ferrier 
was informed by the natives that before the end of the last century it- lower 
course lay much farther to the right, in the direction of the Murgh-ab ; bul in any 
it tails at present to reach the dried-up lacustrine depression which, according 
to Lassar, stands at a lower level than the Caspian. 

The only closed basin comprised entirely within Afghan territory is that of the 
Ghazni, which has an area of about 7,0111) square miles. Rising on the southern 
slope of the hills which send most of their drainage through the ''hint/, Logar, and 
Kabul to the Indus, the Ghazni, after receiving numerous small tributaries, flows 
beyond the Band-i-Sultan, or "Sultan's Dyke" raised by Mahmud the Ghaznevide, 
tir-t south and then south-west, in the direction of the affluents of the Hilmend. 
Bui during its progress across the arid plains of the Ghilzai nomads it generally 
diminishes in volume, and at an elevation of 7,000 feet loses itself in the highland 
lake Ab-Istada. This " sleeping water," as its name i- interpreted, has a depth of 
less than 14 feet in the centre, and is so brackish that the freshwater fish of the 
Ghazni perish on reaching the lake, which is said to have overflowed in 1878 into 
the Hilmend basin. 

The salient featun - ol Lake Ab-Istada are reproduced on a vaster scale by the 
Ilamun basin, which, besides about halt .>! Afghanistan, embraces a considerable 
portion of Persia and Baluchistan, with a total area ..! perhaps 200, ooo square miles. 

The Hilmend, which is the main artery of this hydrographic system, has a 
course nt over (ioo miles, and is the most copious Asiatic river between the Indus 
and Tigris. By the Great Moghula it was regarded as the moat dug by nature's 
hand round Kandahar, bulwark of their empire towards the west. Other streams, 
some hundreds of miles in length, such as the Rud-i-Sabzawar (Harut-rud), the 
l'aiah-rud and Kash-rud, drain to the Hamun depression, although during the dry 
season their course is marked only by the tamarinds, mimosas, and dwarf palms 
fringing their banks. At other times they form broad impetuous watercourses, 
flooding the plains and stopping all caravan traffic for weeks together. 

The Hilmend (Helniand), which rises 36 miles weal of Kabul, between the 
P ighman and Koh-i-Baba, Hows first for a long way at an elevation of 11,500 feet 
through a little-known highland region. Alter -kirting tin- grassy Zamindwar 
Sills, it sweeps into the plain-, a broad majestic stream 3,000 feet wide at high- 
water, and with a mean width of over 1 .0011 feet. Here it receive- during the 
tl...>d- it- chief affluent, the Argand-ab, swollen by the Tarnak, Arghesan, and 


Dora, whose converging 1 waters near Kandahar give to that city such paramount 
commercial and strategic importance. But at ordinary times these streams, 
exhausted by irrigation works, send but feeble supplies to the Argand-ab, which, 
15 miles from its confluence, is arrested by the " Dyke of Timur," a dam by which 
all its waters are diverted and distributed over the plain. The Ililmend also sends 
its overflow through a network of canals to the Germsil, or "Hot lands," a fertile 
tract bordering its banks at a mean distance of about a mile. The remains of 
former embankments attest the care with which its inhabitants, at one time far 
more numerous than at present, regulated the discharge of the Ililmend, whose 
very name, reproduced under the Greek form of Aryrnanthus, is said to mean 
"embanked river." 

The Sistax Depression. 

The lower part of Sistan (Seistan), figured on most maps as a lake, or at least 
a swamp, is, for the most part, simply a waterless plain. Far from presenting any 
obstacle to intercommunication, it is more easily traversed even than the surround- 
ing lands, which are intersected by irrigation canals, strewn with boulders, or 
covered with dunes. Such an easily accessible region could never constitute any- 
thing more than a conventional frontier, and Persia has now seized the must 
fertile tracts east of the pretended lake. Here pass the most frequented routes, 
along which the depression is recognised only by the freshness of the vegetation, 
interrupted, however, at several points by white patches of saline efflorescence 
and moving sands. But northwards stretches the Naizar, a sea of stunted reeds, 
yellow in the dry season, but while tender affording pasture to the cattle of the 

South of this tract the limits of an old lacustrine basin are indicated here and 
there by argillaceous banks, still washed by the overflowing waters during the Hoods. 
In the midst of the basin rises a solitary bluff, the Koh-i-Kwaja, or Castle of 
Ilustem, which Nadir Shah besieged in vain. But north of the marshy district 
stand several other rocky heights, which, like the Koh-i-Kwaja, are of basaltic 

South-east of the Sistan depression stretches the Zirreh (God-i-Zirreh), another 
dried-up basin covered with a saline efflorescence. All the streams flowing from 
Baluchistan in this direction are completely evaporated on emerging from the 
hills, and recently < olonel MacGregor skirted the Zirreh for two days and a half 
without finding a solitary pool of brackish water.* 

In its wide-t extent the Sistan depression develops a crescent 240 miles long, 
parallel with the course of the Lower Ililmend, and at an elevation variously 
estimated at from 1, "2(10 to 1,">0II feet above the sea. Here is consequently the 
lowest ascertained level in Afghanistan. 

The present lakes, known to the Persians by the name of Hamun — that is, 
" expanses " — are nothing but lateral expansions of the rivers that reach the low 

* " Wanderings in Baluchistan," Is- 



and level region of Si-tan. 'hi their map- reoenl travellera show us two such 
basins, one to the wesl formed by the Harut-rud and Farah-rud, the other to the 
cast, lid by tin' Kash-rud and Hilmend, both incessantly fluctuating with the 
lower course of the streams contributing to their formation. 

During the Hoods 

Fig. 13.— Thi II ami. n Basin. 
Scale 1 : 1,800,000. 

30 Miles. 

these streams send down much alluvial matter, which is deposited in the lowest 
part-- of the depressions. But at other times the stream-, failing to reach the 
lakrs. take advantage of the least apertures along their hank- to timid the plains. 
The shifting of their course is further facilitated by the irrigation canals excavated 

on both sides of their beds. Along the liiluieiid some of these canals, receiving 


most of the current, become each in its turn the main stream, and again disappear 
between the dunes lining their banks. The local hydrography has thus for ages 
never ceased to change, as attested by the descriptions of the oldest writers and 
most recent explorers. The shif tings of the Hilmend, and consequent displacements 
of the Hamun, take place within an area upwards of 90 miles in length, and at 
least 50 miles wide.* In this area traces everywhere occur of the old beds of the 
Hilmend. Before 1830 it flowed west, and then formed a " hamun " near the 
Koh-i-Kwaja eminence. But after a great inundation it forsook this channel, and 
turned northwards to an outlet (SO miles north-west of the previous basin. These 
changes also necessitate modifications in the system of canalisation. Towns and 
villages thus frequently become displaced and few other regions present so many 
ruins, mostly however mere heaps of rubbish, without any remains of monumental 

A solitary species of fish, by Goldsmid called a barbel, inhabits the Sistan 
waters, which are frequented by such countless flocks of geese, ducks, and swans 
that the sun becomes eclipsed when they rise on the wing. One of these flights 
seen by Khanikov formed a compact square mass considerably over half a mile on 
all four sides. The natives pretend that they can foretell the level of the next 
floods by the height at which these birds build their nests above the water. 

Climate — Flora — Fauna. 

Afghanistan is, on the whole, a badly- watered regixm, and enjoys a rainfall far 
inferior to that of Western Europe. The plateaux limited eastwards by the 
Sulaiman-dagh are comprised with India in the range of the south-west trade- 
winds. But the atmospheric currents which discharge such copious downpours 
along the Malabar coast derive their moisture from the Indian Ocean, whereas 
Baluchistan and Afghanistan are exposed rather to dry continental breezes blowing 
from equatorial Africa along the north-west seaboard, and crossing in their course 
only two arms of the sea, the Gulfs of Aden and Oman. The humidity acquired 
by deflections to the Indian Ocean is reserved almost exclusively for the lofty 
Koh-i-Baba, Hindu-Hush, and the two Sefid-Kohs in the north and east. 

Thus, despite its proximity to the sea, the Afghan plateau comes within the zone 
of continental climates, along the track of the winds blowing from the Upper Nile 
and Arabia. Hence many of its solitudes present the same appearance as those of 
Persia, which are also exposed to dry winds. Like all lands affected by a conti- 
nental climate, Afghanistan is subject to great and sudden changes of temperature. 
On the bare rocky or argillaceous elevated plateaux the transitions are very severe, 
not only from season to season, but even from night to day. Tims snow falls occasion- 
ally even at Kandahar ; and in the Herat district, of Ahmed Shah* s army as many as 
18,000 men are said to have perished of cold in a single night. On the other hand, 
although Ghazni stands at an altitude of 7,800 feet, its temperature is reported to 
have reached 130° F. in the shade — a heat all the more intolerable that it had been 

* Rawlinson. 


preceded by a oool night. Hence to Ghazni, as to Aden, Ma-mi. Buahir, BMkaxpur 
and other eastern cities, the well-known Baying has been applied: "Since thou 

hast made this furnace, whal need, Allah, hadst thou to make hell?" Still 
more oppressive is the heat when the Bands of the desert arc raised and Bent 
whirling before the wind over the Face of the land. Afghanistan is one of those 
regions which arc most frequently exposed to these frightful sandstorms; while in 
si-tan the wayfarer has been stilled by the fiery midday Ma-i, which here at times 
resembles the African simoon. 

The violent changes of temperature have also the effect of stimulating evapora- 
tion, partly through the intense heat, partly through radiation into the rarefied 

atmosphere. Thus is further diminished the scanty supply of water, which the 
Afghan and Persian cultivators are obliged tn economise by the skilfully-constructed 
khariz, karez, kanat, or underground aqueducts, made in imitation of the rivers 
which flow in the galleries of the limestone rocks. In every badly- watered district 
of Afghanistan villages and hamlets are met whose names recall these indis- 
pensable works. Some, such as that of (ihazni, are from 20 to 2~> miles long, and 
receive countless underground tributaries flowing from reservoirs at depths of 150 
and even 300 feet and upwards. Vertical shafts sunk at certain interval- enable 
the people to descend in order to clear out the canals and strengthen their walls. 
The rubbish accumulated in heaps at these openings marks from u distance on the 
slope- of the hills the course of the subterranean rivulets. 

The dearth of water and the sudden transitions from cold to great heat, combined 
with the elevation of the land, tend to impoverish the Afghan flora. Even com- 
pared with the parched hills of the Panjab, many districts in the Sulaiman high- 
lands and on the plateaux appear destitute of verdure. In some places nothing is 
visible except the bare rock, with perhaps a little herbage in the hollows, fed by 
the moisture oozing amid the scattered boulders. The hamlets are elsewhere sur- 
rounded by a few dwarf palm-, olive, and fruit-trees, while the streams are fringed 
witli the cypress, willow, and poplar. Throughout more than half of the country 
vegetation is represented only by some green patches amid the white, gray, or 
reddish waste of argillaceous clays and rocks. So great is the contrast between 
the naked slopes and the oases at the foot of the hills that the marauding tribes 
look on it as a sort of "providential" arrangement. "Others," they say, "have 
the fertile lands, but we have the strength," that is, to plunder them. 

But the lack of variety in the vegetation and the absence of a rich foliage are 
at all events balanced by the excellent flavour and quality of most fruits and 
cereals, such as the walnut, apricot, peach, plum, almond and several kinds of 
corn. The pomegranates of Kandahar are pronounced by 1'errier to be the finest 
in the world ; the wild vine of Kohistan yields a delicious grape to a height of over 
6,000 feet on the slopes facing southwards; and the walnut, here a forest tree, 
attains colossal proportions, especially in the Upper Kuram valley, where the trunk 
sometimes exceed- fifteen or sixteen feet in u r irth. 

\ i getation is naturally most vigorous in the well-watered region of the north- 
east. In the upland valleys of the llindu-Kush and Lahori, as well as on the 





Sefid-Koh slopes, the goat browses on the tender sprouts down to a height of 
7,000 feet. The plantains growing on the terraces near the Paiwar Pass have a 
circumference of over '■')'■'> feet. The oak is elsewhere followed higher up suc- 
cessively by the deodar, yew, juniper and various species of conifers, one of which 
flourishes on the Sefid-Koh at an altitude of 11,000 feet. Farther up nothing is 
met except the stunted junipers and birch, which are succeeded by herbage and 
the carex as far as the snow-line. In the Sulaiman-dagh the shrubs are of the 
Ilimalavan species, whereas the herbaceous plants are allied to those of the west ; 
but in other respects both the Himalayan and Afghan floras have much in common 
with those of Europe. The date-palm grows only in Sistan, and the myrtle a little 
farther north in the Anardereh district. 

Nor is the Afghan fauna remarkable for many characteristic types. The 
lower valleys near the Panjab are infested by the leopard, hyena, and jackal of the 
plains, while the Hindu-Kush regions, like the Karakorum, Himalaya, and Trans- 
Himalaya, have mainly a Tibetan fauna, including the chamois, various species of 
wild goat, the black and brown bear, wolf, and fox. The wild boar has his lair 
amid the rush-grown swamps of the Hamuli ; the rat-kangaroo, which hibernates 
from September to April, is met in multitudes on all the stony wastes ; while the 
gazelle and wild ass abound on the southern plains, as will as in the neighbouring 
solitudes of Sistan and Khorassan. In the seventeenth century the rhinoceros 
still survived in the forests above Peshawar, where it afforded sport to Akbar and 
Jahanghir. Elphinstone and Raverty speak of lions still to be seen in the hot 
valleys, although observed by no naturalist, and Blandford questions even the 
presence of the lion. The dromedary and camel of Sistan are famous for their 
strength, speed, and endurance ; and in some hilly districts, notably amongst the 
Char-Aimaks, these animals, useless as beasts of burden, are reared solely for their 
hair, used in the weaving of the tent canvas. The sheep of the Zamindwar and 
Aimak districts yield perhaps the finest wool in Asia. But the Herat horse is 
inferior to the Turkoman, while elsewhere almost the only equine species met with 
is the zabu, an ungainly, short-legged animal used exclusively as a beast of burden. 

Inhabitants of Afghanistan. 

The name given by the people themselves to the region comprised between the 
Indus and Persia is not Afghanistan but Pukhtun-Kwa, or "Land of the Pakh- 
taua," or Afghans.* In India the Pakhtanah are collectively known as Rohilla, or 
" highlanders," and more commonly as Pathans, obviously from the native name 
Pukhtun. The term "Afghan" is perhaps derived from the Sanskrit Acvaka 
( Assaka), that is, " horsemen," a title due to their mounted bands sweeping across 
the plains of the Indus. According to a local tradition they claim a Jewish origin, 
regarding Saul as their ancestor. But no serious importance can be attached to 
such pretensions, common enough in a region where every other chief traces his 

• Pukhtun, Puaktun, pi. Pakhlanah, Pas/ttana, according to the dialects, is the collective national name. 
The language is Pukhtu or Pushtu. 



genealogy back to Alexander, and when' whole tribes boast of their descent from 
tin- mythical Persian heroes Rust i ■ Jemshid, or from Mohammed, the prophel of 

Allah. Doubtless amongst the Afghans, as well as amongst the Tajiks and other 
Iranians, men are Frequently met distinguished by the eagle eye, aquiline nose, 
thick lips, and bushy beard of the typical Semitic trader. But this is not very 
surprising in a country lying on the main route of wars and invasions between 
India and Hither Asia — a country where the races have been incessantly inter- 
mingled through migrations, conquests, and tribal warfare. The earliest records 
show us the Afghans as u group of highland clans on the west frontier of India ; 
hut by gradually encroaching on the surrounding districts, eastwards as far as the 
Granges basin, westwards to Sistan, these elans hecame united with divers other 
peoples, imposing on them their own name and speech. Dorn and Lassen have 
identified the Pukhu nation with the Paktiyces of Scylax, quoted by Herodotus, 
a people who dwelt west of the Indus hasin towards the south-east of Persia. This 
term is not mentioned by the historians of Alexander, although the national names 
of many Afghan tribes have been recognised in the nomenclature of the Sanskrit 

The Pukhtu language is a member of the Aryan family, and the Semitic words 
found in its vocabulary are derived not from the Hebrew but from the Arabic, 
since the conversion of the natives to Mohammedanism. The current alphabet is 
also the Arabic, which is so ill-suited for the transcription of the sounds of an 
Aryan language. In this family philologists have not yet determined the exact 
position of Pukhtu, some deriving it from the Zend, others, with Trump, regarding 
it rather as intermediate between the Persian and Indian branches, but approaching 
nearer to the latter. Harsh and guttural, "as if the cold winds blowing from the 
Hindu- Kush compelled the people to speak with half-closed lips," this language is 
regarded as one of the least agreeable in the East — " a language of hell," according 
to a saying groundlessly attributed to Mohammed. The national literature is not 
so poor as had till recently been supposed. It comprises heroic poems and love 
songs, some of which have be< n collected by Raverty, besides some theological, 
legal, and even grammatical writings. The sciences are taught in Persian, and the 
authors most highly appreciated are the poets of Iran. The Pakhtanah are 
extremely fond of singing and music, and amongst them the Hindu traders always 
find a ready sale lor their flutes. 

Most of tie- Afghan tribes are noted for their robust frames and muscular 
energy. The men are rigorous and well made, with long head, prominent cheek- 
bones, large nose, very thick lower lip, bushy eyebrows, coarse hair, and beard 
nearly always black. The fair or chestnut type is found almost exclusively amid 
the Kafiristan highbinders, who are of a different stock. But the western trilx - 
towards the Persian frontier have a lighter or more olive complexion than those in 
the eastern uplands, whose dark brown colour resemblesthat of their Rajput neigh- 
bours. Compared with the Persians the Afghans are rude, almost coarse, and 
careless of outwardshow. But they are skilful artisans, hospitable, generous, and 
even truthful, at least in peaceful times, when not inspired by the evil passions 


stirred up by war — cruelty, revenge, stratagem, and love of pillage. "The man who 
shuts his door to the stranger is no Afghan," says the national proverb. The 
women are generally much respected, and manage the household with intelligence 
and firmness. " Go to India for wealth, to Kashmir for pleasure, but to the 
Afghans for a wife," says an Oriental proverb. Temperate and discreet, and ever 
eager for enterprise, the Pukhtun readily sacrifices comfort for work ; but he does 
not put up his freedom for a price, like the Persian and Hindu. While absolutely 
resigned to inevitable misfortunes, he resists oppression energetically, except, 
perhaps, at court, where prevail the capricious and cruel habits of despotic power. 
Most English travellers complain of the extreme bad faith of the Afghans. But it 
should be remembered that Europeans enter the land generally as conquerors, so 
that their very presence is regarded as an insult. Hence it is not surprising that 
in their weakness they have recourse to every sort of ruse and stratagem against the 
hated invader. And when their hatred is once roused, they certainly yield to it 
with passion and perseverance. " God shield you from the vengeance of the 
elephant, cobra, and Afghan," is a saying current amongst the Mohammedan 

The various tribes, all claiming some patriarchal forefather, form so many 
separate little commonwealths, each again divided into clans and septs (zai or 
khel), some of which consist of but a few families. All these groups have the 
same organisation. The smallest clan, the most insignificant khel, has its chief, 
usually chosen for his birth, while each tribal group is governed by a khan, mostly 
appointed by the Amir of Afghanistan, but also at times chosen by the tribe. His 
authority is not absolute, all weighty matters being decided by the jirga, or 
assembly of headmen, which alone in its collective capacity can confer on the khan 
the necessary sanction for his acts. In these gatherings of the elders the tribe 
seldom fails to recognise the true sovereign power, for the old communal spirit still 
survives. Ahmed Shah himself, conqueror of India and absolute master of millions 
beyond the frontiers, in his own country was only the first chief amongst others his 
equals by right. Nevertheless the balance of power oscillates greatly according to 
the thousand vicissitudes of personal rivalries, feuds, and wars, by which the country 
is continually harassed. Hence the occasional appointment of a dictator, entrusted 
with supreme control during critical times, but who, the danger past, withdraws 
to private life, laving aside all prerogatives over the other members of the tribe. 
Frequently, also, temporary combinations are formed amongst several tribes, when 
the united jirgas constitute themselves a national convention for carrying on war 
or concluding peace. But whether swayed by amir, khan, or jirga, the Afghan 
still fancies himself free. " "We are all equal," they are constantly assuring the 
English traveller, and on his boasting his monarchical institutions, " we prefer our 
dissensions," they reply. " Let our blood flow, if needs be, but we will have no 
master." And if local feuds are frequent, the tribes at a distance from the large 
cities escape, on the other hand, not only from a system of unlimited oppression, 
but also from the general revolutions which decimate the inhabitants of some other 
Asiatic lands subject to capricious autocrats. 


Few 'it' the tribes have ever bad any slaves, for the Afghan considers it a crime 
to •• sell men." Ee may kill, but will not degrade them. 

The custom of hereditary vengeance --till survives, and certain tribes air always 
at war, col for any definite interests, but for the "price id' blood." Recourse, 
however, is often had to mediation; the jirga interferes, ami occasionally a khel i- 
chosen tn arbitrate between two hostile groups, in which case tin 1 guilty Bide 
is asuall] sentenced to surrender one or more marriageable women to the family of 
the offended tribe. This is one of tin- chief causes "I tin mixture <>| blood observed 
amongst the various Afghan communities. Crossings air also occasioned by the 
rites id' hospitality. Strange families are generously welcomed into the elan ; lands 
are shared amongst them, and their chief is admitted to the tribal council, although 
these guests may still continue to govern themselves by their own usages. Besides 
such specially-favoured strangers, there are others, the "hamsoyeh," or "neigh- 
bours," who are regarded as the "clients " of the tribe, and who, as a rule, are not 
admitted tn the ownership of the land they cultivate. Hut in the course of one or 
two generations even these generally become fused in the friendly tribe. On the 
other band, the clans themselves may become broken into hostile faction- through 
some private wrong or public difference. The postfix zui, or "sun," attached to 
so many tribal names, does not necessarily imply real descent, and i- now often 
merely a distinctive sign without any definite value. Thus during the boisterous 
days preceding the last British invasion, the Kabuli people wire divided into 
Cavagnari-zais, favourable to an English alliance, and Yakub-zais, who sided with 
the amir Vakub against the foreigner. Common interests also frequently group 
the tribes of one district against those of another, irrespective altogether of ethnical 
affinities. Thus the Logari, or people of Logar, whether Ghilzais or Tajiks, will 
combine against other Ghilzais and Tajiks of the Laghman territory. 

The contradictory statements of travellers, caused by the complexity and 
shift ings of the tribal names, prevent any strict classification of the khels according 
to common descent. The official tables published by the Hnglish envoys and by 
the Russian stall' have merely a remote resemblance to each other. Still a general 
classification may be attempted, such as that published by Professor Ceane in a 
recent issue of Xatinr* According to all writers, of the lot) different kinds the 
dominating tribe is that of the Durani, of which the present reigning family is a 
member, and which comprises perhaps a fifth of the whole population south of the 
Hindu-Kush. At the beginning of the last century this tribe was called Avdali 
(Abdali) : but Ahmed Shah having, on the death of Nadir Shah, assumed the title 
of Durr-i-duran ("Pearl of the Age"), his people have since been known as 
Durani. Their territory comprises most of South Afghanistan, all the middle 
Silmend valley between the Ghilzai country and Si>tan, the plain of Kandahar, 
Zamindawar, and tie- hills about Parah. In this tribe the pastors are very 
numerous, and are all nomads, possessing at least two camping-grounds, the 
Kishlak, or winter station of the plains, and the Ailak. or summer station on the 
hills. Proud of their relationship with the royal family, the Durani — and especially 
• "Afghan Ethnology," by A. H. Keftne, in Xature, Jan. 20, 1880. 


the Popalzai, Ahmed Shah's clan, and the Barakzai. that of the reigning amir 
and of most of the Government functionaries — have shown themselves Less jealous 
of their republican institutions than the other Afghan tribes. 

North-east of Kandahar the upland valleys and plateaux limited eastwards by 
the Sulaiman-dagh belong to the Ghilzais or Ghiljis, called also Mattai, who form 
a group of about fifty clans, all claiming a Tatar origin. They are supposed to be 
the Khilji or Khalaji of Arab writers, and to have migrated from the west about 
the tenth century. They soon embraced the Moslem fuith, without, however, 
abandoning certain practices of the ancient Christian worship which they are 
traditionally said to have adopted at a still earlier period. Although keeping aloof 
from the other tribes, they now speak the common Pukktu language, and differ in 
no respect from the ordinary Afghan physical type and usages. Hence, whatever 
their origin, they have now become entirely assimilated to the other Pakhtanah, 
amongst whom they are generally distinguished by their noble bearing and regular 
features. They were formerly the most powerful tribe in the country: but they 
fell to the second position apparently through the exhaustion caused by the 
foreign w T ars carried on during the early part of the last century, when they con- 
quered Persia and laid Ispahan in ruins. Amongst them the republican spirit has 
been preserved much better than amongst the Durani. Every clan, almost every 
family, is independently administered, seldom interfering in the affairs of the 
neighbouring communities. Peace is also generally maintained between the clans, 
except during times of general disturbance, such as that caused by the conscrip- 
tions for the amir's armies. The Ghilzais are extremely hospitable, and maintain 
in every clan a special functionary charged with the entertainment of strangers. 
Their largest branch are the Sulaiman-khels, who comprise numerous nomad clans 
in the Sulaiman hills. The southern shepherds are obliged periodically to follow 
their flocks down to the neighbouring plain of Kandahar, and they thus become 
reluctant tributaries to the Durani. Those of Kabul, mingling with the various 
races attracted to the capital by trade, wars, and intrigues, have mostly lost their 
national characteristics; but it was they who took the chief part in the destruction 
of the British forces during the retreat through the Khaibar Pass in 1842. 

The north-eastern tribes, occupying the Kabul River basin and surrounding 
heights, are sometimes classed together as Bardurani, a collective name imposed on 
them by Ahmed Shah, but never recognised by the clans themselves. Here the 
largest group are the Yusuf-zais, or " Sons of Joseph," who are settled chiefly in 
the northern valleys, but some of whom also occupy the hills about Peshawar. 
According to Elphinstone, they number as many as 700,000 altogether, and Raverty 
credits them with 100,000 " swordsmen." Like the Ghilzais, they are grouped in 
a multiplicity of clans, but their national customs have been much modified by 
their repeated incursions into the rich plains of India, by their habit of taking 
service under foreign princes, and by their intercourse with the traders of all races 
constantly passing through their territory. Intestine feuds are very frequent 
amongst them, thanks, as they say, to the dying blessing of one of their saints: 
" You will always be free, but never united." Like the old Jews, the Yusuf-zais, 


Mahomed-zais, Swati, and other neighbouring tribes redistribute their lands a1 
intervals of ten, twenty, or thirty years, the occupiers changing domicile in order 
to take possession of the Fresh lots assigned to them. Whoever objects to his 
share or wrangles about its limits is expelled From the tribe, losing ;it once land, 
wife, children, ;m<l civil rights. This custom, which recalls the old communal 
system of tenure, does not prevent their fields from being well tilled, although in 
many districts the introduction of Blave labour has caused a great decline of 
agricultural and other industries. Various dan- reduced to captivity, as well as 
the prisoners of war Eormerly brought hack from India, have been distributed 
amongst the Tusuf-zai and Swati tribes, and these fakers, as they are called, arc 
occasionally allowed in trade in the villages, or to ply some personal occupation, 
for which they pay a tax to the owners besides the tribal impost. 

The Swati, so named from the river valley where they occupj numerous large 
villages, greatly resemble the Tusuf-zais, from whom they are, bowever, distin- 
guished by sundry practices. Tims the dead are buried in the fallow lands about to 
be reclaimed, and when the husbandman comes along with Ids plough, he cries out : 
"Get up! get up ! here comes the plough!" Then if the bodies gel ploughed 
up and the mangled remains strewn over the ground, it does not matter, because 
•■ the dead have gone to holy Mecca." South of the Swati dwell the Momands on 
the hanks of the Kahnl River, near the Afridi clans, who hold the eastern Setid- 
Koh valleys, and who accept a subvention from the British Government to keep the 

roads open between 1'eshawar and Kohat. West of them are the less warlike Shin wari, 

on the trade route to Kabul, against whom the amir had to semi an expedition in 
1883. Still farther west and south-west the parallel Sulaiman ranges and rolleye 
are occupied by semi-independent (dans, whose allegiance oscillates between the 
amir and the British raj, according to the vicissitudes id* wars and migrations. 
Thus the Bangashes, formerly of the middle Kuram (Kurniah) valley, have moved 
down towards Kohat, and ale now mostly under the jurisdiction of the English, to 
whom tin v supply numerous mercenaries. Their old lands have been occupied by 
the Shiah-Turi, who are also seeking the protection of the Indian Empire against 
the fanaticism of their Sunnite neighbours. 

Hut most of the tribes reject all political allegiance as soon as the foreign 
troops have (putted their hills. Such are the Jaji of the Upper Kuram valley, 
deadly enemies of the Turi and British alike, and unfortunately divided also 
amongst themselves by hereditary feuds, or "exchanges," as they call them. The 
quarrel begins nearly always between the father-in-law and son-in-law, and is 
caused by the latter attempting to abduct the betrothed instead of paying the heavy 
price set on her by her friend-. Then blood i- Bure to flow, for the father must 
either kill the ravisher or fall at his hand-. Nor have the Mangals, Kho-ti, and 
other turbulent neighbours of the Jaji much greater respect for human life. 

The numerous Wa/iri-khel- have their camping-grounds on the outer terraces 
of the Sulaiman-dagh south of the Bannu River. Although claiming political in- 
dependence, they may he regarded as having 1 n definitely brought within the 

British system, thanks to the yearly migration of large numbers to the plains of 



the Indus. Amongst them are the fierce and daring Mahsuds of the Shaktn valley, 
who were, so to say, discovered during the late Afghan war. They fight with 
short sword and buckler, and use the sling with great skill. But notwithstanding 
their warlike spirit, the Waziri open their territory for the passage of caravans of 
the Povindahs, or " Runners," belonging mainly to the great trading tribe of the 
Lohani, but also including many Ghilzais, Kharoti, and Nasars. To protect them- 
selves, however, from possible attack, the Povindahs are organised in bands of 
hundreds and even thousands, strong enough to open the way with their swords 
should the tax offered to the local chiefs not be deemed sufficient. In summer 
these martial traders encamp on the Ghazni plateaux, descending in autumn 
towards the Indus through the Gomul, Gwhalari, or some other mountain pass, and 

Fig. 14. — The Gomul Pass. 
Scale 1 : 1 .500.000. 


L. of .Greenwich 69°50 


30 Miles. 

returning the following April. Some of the Lohani merchants trade regularly 
between Bokhara and Central India, indemnifying themselves for their innumerable 
risks and hardships by exorbitant charges for their waits. On crossing the Indus 
they leave wives, children, and aged in the Derajat camping-grounds, with the 
flocks and their arms, no longer needed in traversing British India. Little 
bannerets and pikes planted on the mounds by the wayside recall the memory of 
those that have perished en route. Their yearly exchanges with India alone are 
estimated at about £1,500,000. About 12,000 traders, with their convoys of camels, 
pass annually down the Gomul route, and many of the Povindahs now seek 
employment on the public works in India. 


Towards the Raluch frontier various formerly independenl and turbulent clans 
have recently been reduced or partly reconciled to the rule of the English, who 
here maintain the " scientific frontier " between Kandahar and Kwatah (Quettah). 
Thus the Pishins and Tari (Tarim) of the Ehojah-Amran range have become 
vassals of the Indian Empire, and now derive their chief wealth from their dealings 
with the British encampments. Many id' the inhabitants of these valleys, although 
pure Afghans, call themselves Seids (SayadsY claiming descent from the Arabs, 
and even from the Prophet. As horse-dealers they are known throughout India, 
and in their district Hindustani is current. The neighbouring Kakars, notwith- 
standing their evil repute for brigandage, are really amongst the most peaceful 
nomads in Afghanistan. At the approach of warlike expeditions they move away 
to other pastures, and give a hospitable reception to the Hindu, Povindah, and other 
traders, through whom they thus maintain their intercourse with the outer world. 
Their nomad Nasar neighbours, like the Banjari of India ami European gipsies, 
have no fixed abodes, nor even any regular winter and summer <;nnping-grounds. 

Although forming the majority of the inhabitants, the Afghans often escape 
the notice of travellers, because they dwell mostly away from the towns on the 
lands inherited from their forefathers. The people met by strangers in Kabul, 
Ghazni, Kandahar, and Herat are chiefly the Tajiks, who are scattered throughout 
th. whole of Afghanistan, except in the grazing distiirts. In most respects they 
resemble the Tajiks of Central Asia, and like them are descended from the old 
political masters of the land, variously intermingled with Turks, (Jzbegs, Arabs, 
and other races. Both at Kabul and Bokhara they are known as Paraivan, that is, 
Parai-zeban, " of Persian tongue," and the term " Sarte " is also applied to them in 
common with other settled communities. In Afghanistan tiny represent the 
industrial and commercial life of the nation, and in the towns they have kepi alive 
a knowledge of letters, thereby preventing the Afghans from relapsing into utter 
barbarism. In the wast some cultivate but few own the land, most of these 
peasants being subject to Afghan masters. The Kohistani of the Daman-i-Koh and 
valleys draining to the Panjhir may be regarded as forming a distinct class from 
the Tajiks, whom however they resemble in their intelligence and industry, though 
not in their peaceful habits. 

Next to the Tajiks the chief civic elements are the Hindki and Kizil- Rashes. 
The Ilimlki or Hindus are nearly all traders or money-lenders, and in their hands 
is so.. n swallowed up the produce of Afghan labour and plunder. The Kizil- 
Bashes, or " Red Heads," of Turkoman origin, came from Rersia during the time of 
Nadir Shah, and have since kept aloof from the surrounding populations. Most of 
those settled especially at Kabul are attached to the court and higher functionaries 
as secretaries, inspectors, and employes of all sorts. Trained to servility towards 
their masters, and to truculence towards the masses, they have acquired the vices of 
their class, and are accused of insolence, ostentation, cruelty, and perfidy. The 
Red Heads of the Herat district, being engaged in trade and industry, are exempt 
from these charges. 

The mountainous region north and east of Kohistan and west of the Swati 



territory is inhabited by aborigines stigmatised aa Kafirs, that is" infidels," because 
most of them have hitherto refused to embrace the Mohammedan faith, but more 
commonly known as "Siah-Posh," that is, "Black Clad," from the black goat- 
skins formerly worn by them. These Hindu-Kush tribes have succeeded in main- 
taining their independence, thanks to the inaccessible nature of the land, which is 
skirted west and south by the historic routes of Bactriana and Hindustan. The 
whole of the ragged uplands comprised between the Hindu-Kush, the Kabul River, 
and Indian frontier have a population of 500,000 ; but the Kafirs proper can 

Fig. 15. — Populations of Afghanistan. 
Scale 1 : 11,000,000. 

mmm. mm 


re***' s*' r 

^ ^«w€r*> a Msi 

L. ofG 


Durani. Ghilzai. Kakars and Waziri. Tribesof the Tin and Tajik and Kaiirs. 
tribesofthe North-Bast Pufain. tribes of 

South- 1 i-t Iranian Race. 

Dardee. Hindus. 




E3 □ 


. 300 Miles. 

scarcely number more than 150,000. But no modern explorers have hitherto 
penetrated far into the heart of the country. "When Wood visited Badakshan in 
1840 he met a few Kafirs, who invited him to visit their territory, which he would 
find flowing with wine and honey. But he was unable to accept the invitation, 
and a similar offer had again to be declined by Biddulph in 1N7S. Hence these 
tribes are known only through the few of them that have been seen beyond their 
own domain either as traders, shepherds, or slaves in Kabul. During the war of 
1879 an excursion was made to the north of Jalalabad by Major Tanner, who 

42 sol rii-\vi:sTi:i;\ ASIA. 

penetrated with ;i small escorl into the Darah Nur district, and visited the 
Chugani villages "I Ant and Shulut. 1 Jut lie brought buck little further informa- 
tion regarding the Kafirs, whom Yule and Rawlinson suppose to he Aryan Hindus 
driven avis ago into the highland region by them called Wamastan. According to 
Trump, who has seen a lew id' them, the Siah-Poah differ in no respect from the 
mu't hem Hindus, while other observers describe the Kafir as of all Asiatic types that 
which approaches nearest to the European. Fair hair and blue eyes are common 
enough, although blown or light chestnut hair and grej eyes predominate, while 
the complexion is not darker than that of the average European. Seine bave 
regarded them as perhaps descended from the Macedonians hit in the mountains 
by Alexander ; but before their relations with the English they had never heard 
of " Sikeiider," and most of them now call themselves the " brothers " of the English 
conquerors of India. More than one writer has suggested the policy of taking 
them as allies, raising a corps amongst their tribes, and building forts in their 
country, thereby outflanking the Afghans, and thus definitely ensuring British 
supremacy in Kabul. On the other hand, patriotic Russians bave suggested that 

llu •• Black Clad" may just as likely he brothers of the Slavs as of the British, 
and have already begun to regard them as the future outpost of Russia on the mad 
to India. 

['.at the Kafirs themselves possess no political unity, being split up into eighteen 
hostile idans in a chronic state el' intertribal warfare, suspended only during the 
harvest. They also come frequently into collision with their Mohammedan neigh- 
bours, who seek to take them alive, a Kafir slave being generally regarded as 
worth two of any other race. The Kafirs, on their part, give no quarter, for in 
their eyes no glory IS Comparable to that of a slayer of men, and those only can aspire 
to the dignity of bahadur or wrumnali who bave struck oil four heads with their 
own hand. The woman whose husband has killed many Mussulmans decks her hair 
with cowries, or wears a red ribbon round her neck. The unhappy wretches who 
have had no chance of striking ell' a head or two are obliged to eat apart. Yet 
disputes rarely arise amongst members of the same clan, and when they come to 
blows the antagonists must strip for the fight, throw away their arms, and after the 
scuffle make it up in the presence of all the village. 

A frequent cause el' border warfare is the obligation of seeking a wife outside 
the elan, the members of which are all regarded as brothers and sisters. While 
the "infidels" are away wife-hunting, the Mohammedans penetrate into the 
district in order to buy or take by force victims destined for the harems of the 
chiefs, the Siah-Posh women being the "Circassians" of Afghanistan. A (dan 
subject to the ruler of Chitral is obliged to send him a yearly tribute of honey and 
butter, woven goods, costly vases, and cattle, besides a number of young women and 
children of both sexes. In general these " brothers of the English " show very 

Little respect fur their women, on whom falls all the household and field labour, 
and who in many districts are yoked together with the oxen. In most of the tribes 
polygamy is permitted, forbidden in others, and altogether there are few countries 
where wars, slavery, religious influences, and interminglings have brought about a 


greater variety of social usages. Amongst the Siah-Posh seen by Biddulph the 
conjugal tie is very lax, whereas elsewhere the mere suspicion of infidelity on the 
part of a young woman will set the whole village in uproar. The eulpits are com- 
pelled, under pain of death, to acknowledge their guilt, their dwellings are burnt, 
and they themselves banished for ever. The very road the}* have taken to escape 
is held as polluted, and the elders of the community offer propitiatory sacrifices on 
the banks of the first stream crossed by the fugitives. Amongst the tribes of the 
interior property is as much respected as the family reputation. An object lost by 
a Kafir will remain for years on the spot where it fell, and even the assassin will 
scrupulously restore to their friends the property of his victims. Couriers also may 
fearlessly traverse the land, provided their letters are carried on the point of a 
wreathed stake. 

The dialects current amongst the various gali or tribes differ so much one from 
the other that the natives of remote districts are unable to converse together. 
All, however, belong to the common Aryan stock, and seem more nearly related to 
the Sanskrit than to any other branch. The native cults belong also to the group 
of Yedie religions. Some of the local deities, such as Imbra (Indra), recall those 
of the Hindu pantheon, while the sacrifices resemble the holocausts formerly 
celebrated on the banks of the "Seven Rivers." Like the Hindus, the Kafirs offer 
a vague worship to the Supreme Being, but their homage is addressed chiefly to 
countless divinities represented by stocks and stones, animals, or rudely-carved 
images, after the manner of the famous Vishnu at Jagganath. To these supplica- 
tions are addressed for rain or hue weather, against sickness, famine, and war. 
Certain practices seem to have been borrowed from the Guebres. Thus fire is 
carefully kept alive and guarded from all impurities. The snake, in common with 
so niany mythologies, is highly venerated, and regarded as the guardian of hidden 
treasures. To kill him would be sure to bring down some disaster on the land ; 
but, on the other hand, a stranger daring to violate one of their sanctuaries would 
be instantly hurled from the nearest precipice. 

The Siah-Posh recognise some of the neighbouring Mohammedan tribes as 
their kinsmen. They are aware that their territory was formerly far more 
extensive than at present, and that they have been gradually driven from the plains 
towards the perennial snows, thereby losing not only much wealth but also their 
civilisation, f or " our forefathers," say they, "could read and write like the 
Hindu pundits." Amongst the surrounding Mussulmans many Kafir usages are 
still observed, as, for instance, the use of benches instead of squatting Turkish or 
Persian fashion on the ground, wine-drinking, and the vigesimal system of notation. 
The women of these Moslem tribes also go abroad unveiled, and take part in all 
outdoor occupations. Amongst these half-Afghanised peoples are the Safi, or 
"Pure," and the Chugani of the Darah Nur ("Valley of Noah") and lower 
Kunar River, who are often called Nimshah, that is, "Half and Half." They 
intermarry both with the Afghans and Kafirs, and generally endeavour to keep on 
good terms with all their neighbours. Through them the Chitrali carry <>n a 
considerable export trade in fine cattle, bounds, and sheep, thereby acquiring much 



wealth, which they spend in building large many-storied houses embellished with 

eleganl w 1 carvings, and in surrounding their villages with high and strong 


Besides these pure Aryan "Black Clads," Afghanistan is also occupied by 
numerous people of Mongol stock. Such arc the Elezareh ( HazarahJ, thai is, the 
"Thousand," who hold the Koh-i-Baba and Siah-Koh valleys of the Upper 
Hilmend and Heri-rud basins. Being thus in possession of mos< of the highlands 
between Kabul and Herat, they compel armies and caravans i" make a great detour 
southwards by Kandahar and I'aiah. In a straight line the distance from Kabul 

Kg. 1G.— Dakah Nur. 
Scale 1 : -."iO.OOO. 




&&c/i* '' ■ G&mb* 


;c 15 " 


J4 Miles. 

t<> Herat is scarcely more than 360 miles, whereas t lie historic route followed at all 
times by trade and war is longer by fully one-half. The Sezareh, doubtless bo 
called from their countless segmentations, are unquestionably of Mongol origin, as 
shown not only by the designation of Moghel applied to them by the Gthilzais, but 
also by their Kalmuck features, small oblique eves, high cheek-bones, Hat face, 
•-canty beard, as well as by their own traditions and the unanimous testimony of 
Eastern writers. According to Akbar's historiographer, Abu '1 Fazil, they were 
sent in the thirteenth century by Mangu-Khan south of the Hindu-Kush, though 
it is difficult to understand how, without any apparent contact with the Persians, all 


except a single tribe Lave exchanged their Tatar mother-tongue for a pure Iranian 
dialect, affected only by a few Turki words borrowed from their Turkoman neigh- 
bours. Rawlinson supposes that they were settled from the remotest times in the 
country, where they were brought into close relations with the Persians at the time 
when the civilising influences of Iran were most active. Numerous ruins of cities 
spoken of by the natives certainly imply a far higher culture than that now existing 
in this region. 

Except those to the north of the western Scfid-Koh, scarcely any of the Hezareh 
tribes are nomads, all dwelling in permanent villages of small thatched houses half 
buried in the ground. But while taking to fixed abodes, they have preserved 
many of their Mongol usages, such as horseracing, at which the}- are scarcely less 
skilled than the Khalkas of the Gobi steppes. Although endowed with sufficient 
poetic genius to make their amatory declarations generally in extemporised verse, 
they are far inferior in culture to the Afghans and Tajiks, to whom their artless 
and uncouth ways are a constant source of ridicule. Nevertheless, by these neigh- 
bours they are also dreaded as sorcerers, capable by a single glance of burning up 
the liver in the bodies of their enemies. In their exuberant hospitality they have 
retained the old custom of accommodating the passing stranger with their women, 
who in other respects enjoy a large share of freedom. They manage the household 
and overlook field operations, and in time of war take part in the tribal councils, 
even joining in the fray on horseback. No family matters are transacted without 
the advice of the women, against whom the hand of man is never raised. 

The national government is monarchical, the wealthiest tribe, which takes the 
title of Ser Khane (" Head of the House "), being considered by all the others as 
forming a privileged class. Each community obeys its own beg or sultan, who 
administers justice, imposes the fines, condemns to prison, and even to death. These 
kinglets are often at war among themselves ; at other times forming temporary 
confederacies either to plunder a powerfid neighbour or resist the tax-gatherers 
sent among them by the amir of Kabul. Thus the political map of the country 
is incessantly shifting with the vicissitudes of war, the interest or caprice of rulers. 
Towards the border lands the race has been considerably modified by crossings, and 
amongst the Hezarehs many are now met with Afghan features, while, on the other 
hand, some Gkilzais might be taken for Kalmuks. In recent times the Hezarehs 
have begun to migrate in large numbers to India, where they obtain employment 
on the public works. Thousands also have become enslaved to the surrounding 
Afghan communities. 

The Hezarehs arc all of the Shiah sect, whereas their Aimak neighbours and 
kinsmen are zealous Sunnites. Of these Aimaks. that is. "Hordes," several, 
especially in the Herat uplands, still speak Mongol dial* its, and the chief tribe 
bears the strictly Mongol name of Kipchak. Their domain comprises the hilly 
pasture lands of the Ghur district south of the Hezarehs, the highland valleys 
encircling the Herat basin, and the northern slopes of the Parapomisus racing the 
Turkestan lowlands. The Taimuri, one of the Char Aimak, or " Four Hordes," 
have also settled west of Herat in Persian territory Most of the Aimaks still 

40 SOUTH-WESTERN .\s| \. 

dwell iii the urdu, or tent >, which are grouped irregularly round some defensive 
town- occupied by the chief and which are made either of grey fell or black skins. 
The settled Tillages in their country are inhabited almost exclusively by Tajiks. 
Brave as the Eezarehs, and like them ruled by despotic eh id's, the Aimaks are bvi n 
more dreaded on account of their ferocity. Elphinstone tells us how alter the 

tight they quad' the blood of the slain ; and according to Ferrier the girlfl <>!' some 
tribes cannot wed until they have taken part with the men in some warlike expedition. 
The Jemshidis, whose 5,000 families encamp under plaited reed tents in theuppei 
Murgh-ab valley, are by some writers classed with the Aimaks, although their 
regular features and Persian speech lease little doubt as to their Aryan descent. 
But through incessant war and migrations, combined with camp life, they have 
acquired the manners and character of their Turkoman neighbours, lake them 

they are marauders, and lose no opportunity of falling on passing caravans. But 

these raids arc not always successful, and since the beginning id' the present 
century their numbers have been much reduced. In the neighbourhood of Herat 
dwell their kinsmen, the nomad Persian Firiz-Kui, removed hither by Tamerlane 
from the Firuz-Koh district at the southern foot id' Dcmavend. 

To this motley assembly of races and peoples at present inhabiting Afghan 
territory must be added a few- Jewish and Armenian money-lenders; some 
Abyssinians, Kalmuks, Arabs, Lezzhians, and Kurds, slaves or adventurers fighting 
under the amir's flag; many Turkoman, Baluch, and Brahui nomads encamped 
on the frontiers, whence they make frequent raids into the interior. Thus all the 
peoples of Western Asia are represented in a land where so few Europeans have 
penetrated, except in the wake of the British invading hosts. 


In the south-eastern regions between the Hindu-Kush and Kabul River all the 
Kafirs, Dards, Afghans and other highbinders dwell in small towns or villages, 
usually situated in fertile alluvial valleys or on the slopes facing southwards and 
sheltered from the icy northern blasts. As in the Alps, the Hindu-Kush towns 
consist mostly of a number of hamlets relieved by no monuments except their 
turreted forts and religious edifices, often surrounded by extensive ruins. The Swat 
valley still contains one well-preserved structure of this sort, surmounted by an oval 
cupola 90 feet high and encircled by a series of niches in ten stories. The Shankar- 
dar, as this sanctuary is called, seems to recall the worship of Shankar, one ol the 
Sanskrit names of Siva. Within their walled enclosures each of the fortified Swat 
villages of Tarrnah and Chahil contains about 1,000 families. In another formerly 
resided the venerable Akhund, who, though posessed of little political power, was 
supposed in Northern India to be an all-powerful prophet, a standing menace to 
British rule, capable at any moment id' hurling against it tens of thousands of 
fanatical Wahabites. Tall and Kalkot, in the Upper I'anjkora valley, have each a 

population of 1,500 families of Bushkars, a branch of the Dard nation. Lower 
down the same river stands Miankalai, capital of the petty Afghan state of Jundul. 


In the Kuiiar River valley are the relatively important towns of Manful, 
picturesquely situated at an elevation of 7,600 feet, at the junction of the Yasin 
and Upper Oxus roads, and Chit ml or Chitlal, capital of the most powerful state on 
the southern slope of the Hindu-Kush. Here resides the mihtar or badskah, who 
rules over some 200,000 Dard and Kafir tribes, some exempt from imposts, others 
compelled to supply slaves even of their own kindred. He is himself tributary to 
tlic maharaja of Kashmir, to whom he sends a yearly convoy of horses, hounds, and 
falcons. Further down are Axmar, Shigar, Serai, and Kunar, the last two governed 
by Afghan chiefs. Kunar gives its name to the lower course of the Chitral River, 
whose sands are here washed for gold. 

The villages of Kafiristan are unknown even by name, while those of the upper 
Panjir and Gborband valleys are insignificant hamlets. But within 12 miles of 
the confluence of the streams, and at the foot of the Paghman range, stands Charikar, 
probably occupying the site of Alexandria, which was here built by the Mace- 
donian conqueror to guard the highland routes converging on the lowlands. The 
neighbouring plain takes the name of Bagram, supposed to be a corruption of 
Vigrama, that is, " chief town," a term long applied to the capital of the Daman- 
i-Koh district. The town, also traditionally' known as Shehr-Yunan, or "Greek 
city," was still standing at the time of the Mongol invasion, and amidst its ruins 
Masson picked up about 60,000 Bactrian coins, rings, and other objects, nearly all 
in copper. South of Charikar the crest of a wooded hill is crowned by the 
picturesque town of Istalif, whose mild climate, sparkling streams, shady 
plantations, orchards, and gardens render it the pleasantest place in the whole 
of Afghanistan. 

Kabul, present capital of the state, is the " oldest city of all," say the natives, 
and according- to the local leg-end here fell the devil when he was cast out of 
heaven. The inhabitants also proudly point to the " tomb of Cain," thus carrying 
back to the beginning of the world the bloodstained annals of this turbulent 
region. In any case the city was certainly in existence at the time of the 
Macedonian expedition, and is mentioned by the old writers first under the name of 
Ortospana, or "White Camp,"* and afterwards by that of Cabura (Ptolemy). 
On the south-eastern road leading to India stand the remains of the Surkh-Minar 
("Red Minaret), and of "Alexander's Pillar," structures betraying evidence of 
Greek or Graoco- Bactrian style. At the end of the fifteenth century Baber, who 
knew no spot comparable to the "paradise of Kabul," made it the capital of his 
vast empire, and amid the gardens of the south-west is still seen the white marble 
enclosure, carved with arabesques and covered with inscriptions, which was raised 
to the memory of this emperor. Timur, son of Ahmed Shah, also chose Kabul as 
his residence, and since then the city lias for over a century held its position as 
capital of the kingdom. But apart from its official importance, it occupies a site 
which could not fail to make it a great emporium <>i trade, tor it stands on the 
historic route between India and Bactriana, in the midst of fertile plains offering 
every resource to caravans after their toilsome journeys across the snowy Hindu- 

*Ka\vlinson, m "Jour. Geographical Soc," 1843. 


-< .1111 \S ESTEEN ASIA. 

K 1 1 - 1 1 . Thanks to its altitude uf over 0,000 feci above tlic Bea, it enjoys as 
temperate a olimate ib European cities Lying I* 1 degrees Farther north, and its 
fruits are famous throughout the Easl for their exquisite flavour. 

Kabul covers a space of about 2 miles on the south bank of the river to 
which it gives its name, and which in miles lower down is more than doubled 
in volume by its junction with the Logar. West of the defiles ju-t above the city 
then' stretches a rasl triangular basin of well-cultivated plains, shaded with 
poplars and willows, and encircled by bare rocky hills. Eastwards a projection is 
crowned with the military quarter of the Bala-Hissar, or "High Fortress," 
partially destroyed by the English in L880. Within the enclosure stand the 
amir's palace and gardens, and the citj itself is intersected in all directions 

Fig. 17-— Kami, ami NbiohboobhooD. 
Scale 1 : 260,000. 

I Woslrabad- j|» 

63 'fS 

6 Miles. 

by walls, dividing it into distinct plots like the cells of a honeycomb. Hut 
these inner lines have in many places been demolished, and the breaches are 
connected by a whole labyrinth of narrow winding Lanes, the intricacies of which 
were increased by the ruins of about 1,000 houses destroyed by the earthquake 
of 1874. Many of the inhabitants have since then withdrawn to the suburbs, 
which stretch north-west and north along both sides of the stream. In order to 
overawe the city, the English in 18N0 occupied the heights of Shcrpur (Behmaru), 
which rise on the north-east to an elevation of Still feet, and which .Shere Ali had 
already chosen as the site of fresh foil ions. Shcrpur has the advantage over 
Bala-Hissar of standing isolated in the midst of the plains, and of not being 
commanded by any neighbouring hills. About 6 miles east of liala-IIissar are the 


ruins of an older city known by the name of Bagam or Bagrami, that is, " Capital," 
and Kabid itself seems to have formerly stood on the banks of the Logar. 

On the route between Kabul and Peshawar the chief intermediate station is 
Jalalabad, which stands at a height of scarcely 1,800 feet below the gorges by 
which the Kabul River pierces the Siah-Koh range, and in the centre of the 
Nangnahar basin sheltered on all sides from the winds. Hence the heat is often 
oppressive at this threshold of the Iranian plateau ; but the fertile plain is in many 
places shaded by leafy trees. In winter the population is greatly increased by the 
shepherds returning from the surrounding pasture-lands. Beyond this point 
the only place of any note is Latpura, at the Afghan entrance of the Khaibar Pase, 
which is guarded at the other end by the British fortress of Jamrud. 

South of the Sefid-Koh most of the " towns " on the eastern slopes of the 
Sulaiman-dash are mere aggregates of mud huts surrounded by walls of the same 
material. Such are Kuram, capital of the district of like name, and in the Tochi 
valley the old but decayed Shehr or Shark, that is, " city " in a pre-eminent sense, 
which still exports a remarkably strong and hardy breed of horses. Kaniguram 
and Makin, farther north, are the chief centres of population in the "Waziri territory. 

West of the Sulaiman-dagh no towns are met till we reach Ghazni, the chief 
place on the military route between Kabul and Kandahar, and in the eleventh cen- 
tury capital of an empire stretching from the plains of Delhi to the shores of the 
Kuxine. Yet the residence of Mahmud, the "Ghaznevide" conqueror of India, 
presents few of the advantages required by an imperial metropolis. Lying at an 
elevation of 7,800 feet above the sea, in a region exposed to fierce gales, sultry in 
summer, extremely cold in winter, Ghazni is also destitute of copious streams and 
fertile plains. "I have often asked myself," says Sidtan Baber, "how the 
princes who reigned over Hindustan and Khorassan came to fix the seat of their 
government in such a wretched country." Hence it is not surprising that when 
it ceased to be a royal residence Ghazni soon lost most of its popidation, although 
still preserving its importance as a formidable stronghold between Kabul and Kan- 
dahar. It stands at the foot of a long gypsum ridge, with here and there patches of 
vegetation, and at its highest point crowned with a citadel, whose walls are flanked 
with bastions and towers. Like that of Kabul, this citadel, which was stormed by 
Lord Keane in the first Afghan war, takes also the name of Bala-Hissar. Although 
never a very large place, the ruins of old Ghazni stretch for a considerable distance 
to the north of the present city. Here doubtless stood Mahmud's " Heavenly 
Spouse," the marble and granite mosque built by him to commemorate his 
conquests. To this mosque belonged probably the two graceful minarets em- 
bellished with Kutie inscriptions now lying on an artificial platform in the district. 

Ghazni takes the title of "Second Medina" from the great number of 
illustrious persons whose tombs it formerly contained. That of the Ghaznevide 
i- >till seen in the old town, but it has no longer the sandalwood gates brought 
hither by Mahniud from Somnath in Kattyawar, and by the British removed to 
Delhi in 184','. Doubts, however, have been entertained as to the identity or 
antiquity of these gates. 



Grhazni [a peopled by Hezarehs and Ghilzais; but Kelat-i-Ghilzai, thai Lb, 
"Castle of the Ghilzais," the only other stronghold between Kabul and Kandahar, 
is inhabited almost exclusively by members of t lii» tribe. It Is rather a fortress 
than a town, its irregular lines, barracks and magazines crowning an isolated 
eminence on the stonj plateau which separates the Argand-ab from the Tarnafc 
valley. At its fool are scattered the villages of the peasantry, besides the palace, 
bazaar, and other buildings, which mighl form the nucleus of a city. .Numerous 
ruins are strewn over the cultivated and well-watered plain, while the heights are 
crowned with the remains of tombs, forts, and signal towers, attesting the former 

Fig. 18. — Kelat-i-Ghii./.ai. 
Scale 1 : 45,000. 




u of (jreenwicn 



1,100 Yards. 

strategic importance of Kelat-i-< ihilzai. During the late war it was the chief centre 
of General Roberts's operations on his famous march from Kabul to Kandahar. 

Like so many Asiatic town-, Kandahar or Khand, a term identified by some 
etymologists with an ancient "Alexandria," by others with a still more ancient 
Hindu " Ghandara," has several times shifted its position. The city of Arachosia 
(in Sanskrit Haraktcati) lay more to the south-east, where now stands the ruined 
station of Olnn Robot, or 8hahr-i-Tohak, in the midst of the Argand-ab solitudes. 
To this place succeeded "Old Kandahar," which has not yet completely disap- 
peared. About 3 miles from the modern enclosure the hills are skirted by solid 
ramparts, the remains of a Bala-IIissar, which was formerly one of the strongest 



places in Afghanistan, and which held out for eleven months against Nadir Shah. 
Another Kandahar, founded by Nadir himself, enjoyed a brief existence of a few 
years during the last century, and its well-preserved walls still stand at about 3 
miles to the south of the present city, which was built by Ahmed Shah, founder of 
the present dynasty. He chose it as the royal residence, and the finest edifice 
within the walls is the domed mosque standing over his tomb, the resort of thousands 

Fig. 19. — Kandahar. 
Scale 1 : 100,000. 


3,300 Yarda. 

of blue pigeons. No one better than the conqueror could appreciate the extreme 
strategic importance of Kandahar, the " key of India." Lying on the semicircular 
route between Kabul and Herat, commanding the outlet of the Argand-ab and 
Tarnak valleys, as well as the defiles of the ranges separating India from the Hil- 
mend basin, it has the further advantage of being surrounded by a fertile region, 
which might supply abundant provisions to armies on the march. On the south and 
south-west it is unassailable, being protected in this direction by vast desert tracts. 


The quadrilateral of Kandahar stands at a height of - 4 , -~» < > < » feel above the sea on 
a plain sloping gently towards the south-east in the direction of the Tarnak River. 
The irrigating waters which supply the city, and which convert the surrounding 
district into a rast garden, are drawn from the Argand-ab, and skirt the loot of 
the advanced spurs of the Gul-Koh, which is here pierced by the profound Balu- 
Wali Pass. Eere was Eought the battle by which General Roberts raised the siege 
of Kandahar in L880. The city walls, though flanked by over fifty towers, and 
supported uorthwards by a citadel, are in a bad state of repair; but the interior 
presents a favourable contrast with Kabul, its well-kept streets generally running 
at right angles, while the whole -pace within the enclosure is divided by two main 
avenues into four nearly equal quarters, approached from the north through the 
citadel, and on the other sides by three gateways. At the junction of the avenues 
stands the bazaar, surmounted by a fine cupola, and thronged with a busy crowd of 
buyers and sellers. The eastern section of the avenues Leading to the Kabul gate i 
occupied chiefly by cloth merchants, while that Leading west to the Herat gate is 
alive with the incessant din of workers in copper and blacksmiths. The dyers, 
potters, and fruit-vendors are grouped along the southern avenue terminating at the 
Shikarpur gate, and the road to the citadel is lined with large warehouses well 

stocked with English and Russian goods. The dealers in the bazaar belong to 
every race in Western Asia ; but the great bulk of the inhabitants are members of 
the Durani tribe. 

Recently Kandahar lay within the "scientific frontier" of the Indian Empire; 
but consequently upon a change of Government in England it was restored to the 
amir in ISSvJ. Here was to have terminated the Shikarpur railway, first section of 
the transcontinental line between India and Asia Minor. But although the works 
have been temporarily suspended, the poll ion of the railway already completed from 
the Indus to Sibi, at the foot of the Bolan I'a-s, is continued up to the plateau by 
routes practicable for artillery, and the present military frontier station has been 
fixed at Chatnan, within three days' march of Kandahar. From thi- encampment, 
which is flanked by spin's of the Khoja-Amran, the British forces guard the 
eastern extremity of the main military route traversing Afghanistan from the 
south-east to north-west. Any further advance could scarcely stop short of Kuxltk- 
i-Nakud, memorable for the defeat of General Burrows in 1880, or even of the 
fortress of Ghirisk, which commands the passage of the Hilmend and the Zamin- 
dawar valleys. The numerous ruined fortifications scattered about this spot attest 
the great importance attributed at all times to this strategic point. It might 
a No be found necessary to secure Farah, a stronghold standing at the south-west 
angle of the northern highlands and of the great military highway near the fertile 
plains of Si-tan. Then there i- Si-tan itself, whose chief stronghold, Lush, stands 
on an eminence surrounded by valleys, impregnable to any but the heaviest modern 
artillery. Nor could Sibzatear or Sebztcarbe neglected. This fortress, which holds 
the Aimaks in check, and which ha- replaced the ancient [sfezar, i- the la-t 
strategic point south of Herat, and prophets of ill-omen have already named if as 
the probable site of futuro collision between the great rivals for empire in Central 


Asia. To the south-west the Tajik village of Anardereh stands near the Persian 
frontier, at the foot of a hill rent throughout its entire length by a cleft nowhere 
more than 20 inches wide, and caused, says the local legend, by a stroke of the 
sword of Ali. 

Herat, which from its strategic importance has been called the " Gate of 
India," and from its vast agricultural and industrial resources the " Pearl of 
Khorassan," is one of the oldest, and at times has been one of the most populous, 
cities in the world. It is clearly identified with the Aria which was a large place 
in the days of Alexander, and which, according to the Persian historians, was in 
the twelfth century the " queen," and the " illustrious," containing 444,000 
inhabited houses, 12,000 shops, 6,000 public baths and caravansaries. In the next 
century it was captured after a six months' siege by Jenghiz-Khan, who butchered 
its inhabitants to the number of 1,600,000, forty persons alone escaping the sword of 
the ruthless Mongols. Such is the vital importance of its position, that it has been 
fifty times attacked and levelled to the ground, each time again rising from its 
ruins. Lying on the Perso- Afghan frontier, it has never ceased to be a subject 
of contention between these conterminous states, and if, despite its geographical 
dependence on Persia, it now belongs to the Amir of Kabul, its Persian-speaking 
inhabitants have to thank England, which has twice interfered and compelled the 
Shah either to raise the siege or surrender the prize. At present the political 
equilibrium has changed. Pussia has become the most powerful neighbour of 
Herat, and her engineers are surveying the ground with the view of making it 
the future terminus of their Trans-Caspian railway system. Lessar has recently 
shown that the Heri-rud forms the natural approach from the Turkestan depression 
to the Iranian plateau, and this route, already traversed more than once by 
Turkoman and Mongol, is henceforth open to the Russian. 

Situated about 2,600 feet above sea level, Herat occupies the centre of an 
extremely productive plain traversed east and west by the Heri-rud, and skirted on 
both sides by hills, which diminish in height towards the west. Amidst the 
clumps of conifers are here and there detected piles of ruins, tombs, and other 
remains, recalling the prosperous days when Herat covered an area ten times 
larger than at present, and when a dog " could bound from roof to roof all the way 
from the citadel to the villages on the plain." The enclosure of the modern city, 
forming a quadrilateral with its longest side running from east to west, is not BO 
much a rampart in the strict sense of the word as a huge irregular mound, with a 
mean height of 80 feet, and separated by a deep ditch from the plain. On the 
north side stands the citadel of Ekhtiar-eddin, a solid structure commanded within 
1,000 yards by an enormous eminence said to have been raised by Nadir-Shah. Like 
Kandahar, Herat is divided into four quarters by two transverse streets, whose 
point of intersection, till recently surmounted by a dome, has become the centre 
of the bazaar. The local craftsmen have retained their reputation for the 
manufacture of sword-blades, carpets and cotton goods ; but at present the bazaar 
is chiefly stocked with English and Russian wares. The population, which varies 
enormously with the political vicissitudes of the country, was reduced to 7,000 



in 1838, and when most of its Shiah inhabitants had quitted the city to escape 
the persecution of its Afghan masters. A. considerable proportion of the citizens 
represent ancient families who have fallen with the place itself from their former 
greatness. Amongst them Ferrier me1 descendants of Jenghiz-Khan, Tamerlane, 
and Nadir-Shah. 

Mot of tlif palaces, caravansaries, mosques, and other public buildings form 
picturesque ruins in the suburbs, where a Bolitary tower, a broken arch, or a 
crumbling wall still covered with lovely enamelled porcelain blend their softened 
tints here and therewith the foliage of the shady plantain. The district is noted 
for its healthy climate and balmy atmosphere, due to the northern breezes which 
prevail during the hot summer months. "Bring together the soil of Ispahan, the 
aii- of Herat, and the waters of the Kharezm, and there man will live for ever," 

Fig. JO.— Herat. 
Scale 1 : 1,300,0001 

, 30 Miles. 

says an Iranian proverb. Nor need Herat envy the waters of the Khare/m itself, 
for those of the Heri-rud, " clear as a pearl," are amongst the purest in Asia; and, 
thanks to the nine main channels and their countless ramifications fed by the 
neighbouring river, Herat has become the " City of a hundred thousand tiardens." 
Here are grown seventeen varieties of the \ ine, and many speciesof melons, apricots, 
and other fruits, all renowned throughout Irania for their exquisite flavour. In 
these gardens the public help themselves, ami pay the reckoning according to the 
difference of their weight on entering and Leaving. Beyond the watered tracts the 
plains yield the in/; or assabetida of the Afghans, abhorrent to the Kuropean sense 
of smell, but which supplies a dainty dish to the Iranians. 

Above Herat are a few groups of houses that may still be called towns. Such 
is Kurukh, capital of the Jemshidi territory, on the route to Maimeneh, noted for 
its hot springs, of which as many as eighteen bubble up within the town-walls. 


In the Heri-rud valley west of Herat the ruined cities of Ghurian and Kusan 
owe all their importance to their position near the political frontier of Persia. 
According to Kanikov, Ghurian was in 1820 a larger place than Herat itself. Now 
it is little more than a picturesque fort, surrounded by hovels in the midst of a 
splendid district, where the neglected banks of the Heri-rud are fringed in many 
places by groves and even forests of large trees. Here the hare, partridge, 
pheasant, and grouse are met in vast multitudes, while larger animals, such as the 
deer, wild boar, and wild ass, frequent the surrounding thickets. Thus has nature 
again taken possession of this formerly populous and highly cultivated region of 
Afghan Khorassan. The same desolation has fallen on the hilly districts of the 
Hezarehs and Aimaks, which abound in the ruins of ancient cities, but where 
nothing is now seen except miserable hamlets. Zenii, or G/iur, capital of the 
country, has almost ceased to exist. Here Ferrier tells us he met a few Guebres, 
a statement which has been questioned by most subsequent writers. 

Trade — Industries — Administration. 

Owing to its sparse population, the conflicts of hostile tribes and races, the 
absence of large towns, roads and bridges, Afghanistan holds a low place even 
amongst Asiatic countries as an agricultural and industrial region. Certain 
valleys and a few oases on the plains are doubtless carefully cultivated, while the 
system of underground channels, dams, and irrigating rills bears evidence to the 
labour sustained for centuries by whole communities. In the agricultural districts 
also, where the land is parcelled out amongst small holders, independent of factors 
or middlemen, the soil is remarkably productive, and has frequently met the 
demands of invading hosts without being completely exhausted. But in ordinary 
times wheat, the staple national food, and the other products of the land, suffice 
only for the local demand, leaving little for export except some dried fruits, corn, 
and medicinal gums. Yet the temperate plateaux and cool upland valleys ought 
to yield abundant supplies to the Hindu populations, with whom scarcely any 
traffic is maintained. Nor do the industries of the Tajiks in Kabul and the other 
Afghan cities contribute much towards the export trade. Hence the Povindahs 
import from India and elsewhere far more than they are able to offer in exchange 
for the wares purchased by them from the English, Russians, Pokhariots, and 
Hindus. The Anglo-Indian Government, while withdrawing from Kabul and 
Kandahar, has at the same time suspended the works which were intended to 
connect those cities with the peninsular railway system, the two main lines towards 
the plateau terminating at present at the eastern entrance of the Khaibar and 
Bolan passes. Bridges, viaducts, cuttings, embankments, tunnels, everything was 
suddenly and senselessly abandoned after upwards of i'-VJi 1,1100 had been 
expended on these indispensable works. But while the British lines have thus 
been interrupted by a Liberal Government, those of the Russians arc steadily 
advancing in the opposite direction, from the Caspian, through the Turkoman oases, 
towards the Afghan frontier. And thus arises the question, which of the two 


great powers, compelled by the very force of events to contend for supremacy 
in Central Asia, will be the firsl to secure by the locomotive the commercial pos- 
session nf Afghanistan. The advantage must certainly lie with those who shall 
take the Lead in placing the inhabitants of the plateau in easy communication 

with the rest of the world. 

Afghanistan is not likely long to maintain any real political independence, to 

preserve which its inhabitants should possess a eonin patriotic sentiment and 

confidence in their destinies. Hut Afghan, Eezareh, Tajik, Cizil-bash, Kafir are 
all so many antagonistic elements, while the many tribes of the ruling race itself 
lack all political cohesion. Most former wars possessed little more than a special 
interest for the different clans, whose chiefs were struggling from time to time for 
the foremost rank. The Qhilzais, Kafirs, Waziris, Susuf-zais, Lohani, do not 
regard themselves as the subjects of the amir orof his great liarak/.ai chiefs. They 
supply provisions, guides, and convoys to the stranger without feeling that they 
thereby incur the charge of treason ; their only fatherland is the tract held by their 
respective clans. And as regards the central Government itself, all the inhabitants 
of the country have for the last half-century grown up under the idea that the real 
sovereignty lies ultimately with the English or the Russians. European travellers 
in the country are incessantly besieged with questions touching the rivalry of the 
two great conquering powers and the probable issue of the pending conflict. 
Such also is the universal topic of discussion in the bazaars, where the news- 
messengers play the same part as the political press elsewhere. 

The Afghans themselves seem generally inclined to believe in the future 
supremacy of Russia. " However disagreeable the confession, there can be no doubt," 
says Mactircgor, "that in their eyes the prestige lies with the Russians, whom 
they regard as the next conquerors of India." Doubtless they have not yet 
obtained a footing in Afghanistan, but all their expeditions in Central Asia 
invariably end in conquest, which is never followed by retreat. The English, on 
their part, have thrice invaded Afghanistan, but at what a price p and with what 
results:-' In t84'J, after three years' occupation, the Anglo-Indian garrisons, 
some l:>,()0() strong, perished almost to a man in their attempt to withdraw from 
Kabul. Three persons alone escaped from the greatest disaster ever suffered by 
the British army. In the last war also the serious defeat of Kushk-i-Xakud had 
to be repaired ; and although on this occasion ihey quitted the country of their 
own accord, the popular report, rapidly spread from tribe to tribe, represented 
them as fugitives. Their attitude fully justifies the Baying attributed to 
Ahmed Shah in speaking of his Afghan kingdom, "Beware of my bee-hives; 
the bees aiv there, but not the honey." To avoid diplomatic difficulties, and 
tor other motives of "high state policy," the British Government not only 
sacrifices blood, treasure, and prestige by withdrawing when it might easily remain, 
but seldom even allows its own subjects to explore the country in times of peace. 
Even in the far west, on the route between Fa rah and Herat, caravansaries are met 
at intervals, formerly erected by the English, but which they dare nut now make 
use of. In L840 their advanced posts stood to the north of the Bamian Pass, 



















whence the Russian van might now he visihle, and their guns obstruct the bed of 
the torrents flowing down to the Oxus. Unless wiser counsels are adopted, the 
Afghan view of the situation cannot fail to be realised. 

The present amir, former guest of the Russians, now a British pensioner, 
represents in his person the political state of the land for which the two rival 
powers are contending. His kingdom is far more extensive than seems consistent 
with his real weakness, for its limits have been arbitrarily laid down by the two 
protecting states. North of the Hindu-Kush, Koh-i-Baba, and Siah-Koh, the high- 
lands and plains stretching to the Oxus belong geographically rather to Russian 
Turkestan than to Afghanistan proper, to which they are politically attached. On 
the southern frontier also many tribes pay the taxes only on compulsion, while the 
three rival cities of Kabul, Kandahar, and Herat themselves form part of one state 
only in virtue of an "Asiatic equilibrium" temporarily guaranteed by the two 
paramount powers in Central Asia. 

Like other Eastern sovereigns, the amir is in theory an autocrat ; but practi- 
cally his power is limited not only by the Shariat, or " way of the faithful," that 
is, by the religious and civil traditions of Islam, but also even more decidedly by 
the privileges of the sirdars and republican tribes. At once absolute master of the 
Tajiks, head of the Durani, and suzerain of the other tribes, he commands, advises, 
or solicits according to the respective attitudes of these sections of the community. 
Certain offices are hereditary in many families, and these could be interfered with 
only at the risk of a general insurrection. A large number of clans receive 
neither his magistrates nor his tax-gatherers, but administer their own affairs, tax 
themselves, and send to the amir the amount of tribute settled by custom. Thus 
limited, the royal power is transmitted if not from father to son in the order of 
primogeniture, at least in the same family. Formerly the sovereign was elected 
by the sirdars or great chiefs ; now the English Government exercises the right 
of nomination as well as that of control by the presence of an official resident at 
the Court of Kabid. But for motives of prudence this dangerous office is entrusted 
to a native. 

When he ruled over the Peshawar district and all the eastern Haman-i-Koh 
between the Indus and the Sulaiman-dagh, the amir was a wealthy potentate, 
with a revenue exceeding £2,000,000. In those days the plains supplied him 
with money, the plateau with men. But now that all his resources are derived 
from the latter, his yearly income has fallen to little more than £600,000. Hence 
the Court lias been compelled to economise, more especially since the ordinary 
revenue has been absorbed almost entirely by the army. Although most of the 
troops are raised amongst tribes bound to military service in lieu of tribute, and 
although provisions are mostly supplied gratuitously in the garrison towns, large 
sums are still spent, especially in the purchase of war materials. In 1870, at the 
time of the rupture with England, the amir had in his arsenals 379 guns and 
50,000 rifles procured in English workshops or manufactured in the country. The 
troops are drilled in English, chiefly by deserters from the British army. 

The various provinces are administered by a Lankim and commanded by a 


military sirdar. But both functions are Frequently exercised by the same 

official, especially if he be a member of the Durani tribe. In the i tad districts 

his principal duty is t<> collect the taxes and settle disputes, the Ka/i. who accom- 
panies him, delivering judgments and fixing the fines. 

The Afghan provinces proper, determined mainly by the relief of the land, arc 
comprised in tin' subjoined table: — 

I. Kabul — 

Kabul, Dpper Kabul, and Logai River valleys, 1> mi m-i-Koh. 
Qhorband, Upper Ghorband, and Panjir valleys 
Laghman, Kabul riverain tracts between the capital ami Jalalabad. 
Safi and Tugao, Ilinilu-Kiish valleys between tin- Ilaman-i-Koh anil Kafiristan. 
Jalalabad, Lower Kabul River valley. 
Qhazni, Qhazni River basin, and surrounding hills. 
II. Kandahar — 

Kandahar, eastern Durani territory. 
Kelat-i-Ghilzai, Tarnak valley, ilul-Koh. 

Karah, Farah-ruil basin. 

Lash, Bhakansnr. 

IV. IIkkat — 

Herat, Middle Heri-rud basin, 
km ukh, Upper Ileri-i ml basin, ( Ibeh. 
Ghurian, Lower 1 [eri-rud. 
Sibzawar, Ardrashkan basin. 
Shahbaud, Aimak territory. 
V. Hkzakf.h Tkiuiitouy. 

VI. K.ll IU1STAJJ — 

M istuj, Kaskar or CbitraL Kunar, Buahkar. 
Panjkora (Jundul), Dir, Bajaur. 
Note.— Attached to Afghanistan are also the khanates of Turkestan south of the Oxus, although 

geographically comprised within the region of which the Russian citj of Tashkeml lias I me tin 

political centre. These are the stales of Wakhan, liadakshan, Kuinluz. Balkh, Andkhoi, Shihirkan, 
Ak-Cha, Saripul, Medmeneh, Gurzivan, Darzab, for which see Vol. VI. 



HE land of the Baluches has scarcely retained a shadow of political 
independence, and is now practically a province of the Indian 
Empire. Kachi-Gandava, its most fertile and relatively most 
populous division, belongs geographically to the region of the 
plains, and here the English have long maintained military canton- 
ments. Kwatah (Quetta) also, the chief stronghold on the plateau, is held by a 
British garrison, commanding on one hand the Afghan city of Kandahar, on the 
other the Baluch capital of Kalat. In Kalat itself the advice of the English resi- 
dent, representing the Indian viceroy, is always followed by the sovereign. 
Along the coast the small seaports, peopled mainly by sailors and traders, subject 
to the direct jurisdiction of England, are veritable Hindu colonies ; while the 
telegraph stations on the same seaboard are guarded by troops in the pay of the 
Calcutta Government. 

Several English officers, notably Colonel MacGregor, have been sent to survey 
the roadsteads along the coast and the strategic routes leading inland to the 
Afghan plateaux. Nevertheless, much of the land still remains to be explored, 
consisting, however, chiefly of bleak highlands, sandy wastes, rocky or saline 
argillaceous tracts. Thus the region, mostly a wilderness, covering a space of 
about 30,000 square miles, and stretching from the Hilmend southwards to the 
Waxhati or Koh-i-Sabz and Sianch-Koh ranges, is regarded as a worthless and 
ownerless land. While Hughes assigns it to the Afghan amir as heing naturally 
included in the Hamuli basin, on most maps it is represented as belonging to the 
Khan of Kalat. The official map prepared in 187"2 by (ioldsmid on the banks of 
the Hilmend marks the common frontier of Persia, Afghanistan, and Baluchistan 
at the Koh-Malak-i-Siah, or " Mountain of the Black King," west of the Hamun, 
and from this point the Baluch border is traced directly to the great bend of the 
Hilmend below Rudbar. This would give an area of over 100,000 square miles to 
Baluchistan; yet, according to the most liberal estimates, this vast region has 
scarcely the population of a second-rate town. Even including the province of 



Kachi-Gandava, which belongs ethnically and geographically to India, the whole 
state contains liss than oOU.UUO inhabitants. 

Tin: Bali i histan Uighi inds. 

The khanate attains its greatest altitude towards the south-east frontier of 
Afghanistan, where il probably culminates in the double-crested Takatu, north of 
Ku.iiah, and where other peaks in the Chihil-Tan range appear to rise nearly as 
high. A leu points in the Coh-i-Muran, or "Snake Mountains," which lie more 

to the south between Mustang and Kalat, are also said by Cook to rival the Takatu, 

Fig. 21. — Bonus di" Tin Mini Explores* oi Baltjohistan. 

Scale 1 : :i,000,000. 

I: Ml ■ : < I ■ i i i i a. t. ,1 

MO Miles. 

all these, as well as the Kalipal peak north of the projected line of railway, 
attaining an elevation of 12,000 feel or thereabouts. All the Brahui ranges, 
which form the eastern scarp of the plateau above the Kachi-Gandava plain, run 
in remarkably regular parallel lines in the direction from north-north-east to 
Miuth-south-west. Carved into terraces of unequal size, shaped like pyramids, or 
bristling with sharp peaks, these rugged limestone hills are mostly destitute of 
vegetation, a lew juniper forests alone blending their pah' green witli the blue and 
ro8j tints of the rocks bathed in the lighl of the sun. According to the hours of 
the day with their shifting lights and shades, the hills appear on the horizon like a 
scarcely visible pink or violet veil, a transparent luminous vapour, or glowing 


cones of molten red lava. Between the parallel chains, the basins formerly filled 
with lacustrine waters have all been emptied by their mountain emissaries. Yet 
some of these sequestered dells, with their grassy swards and clumps of trees, 
remotely resemble fresh Alpine valleys : while others are like fragments of the 
desert enclosed in an amphitheatre of hills. Such is the Pasht-i-Bedaulat, or 
"Desolate Plain," separated from Kwatah by the Madar or " Dead Man range," 
which is traversed by the main route from India through the Bolan Pass. This 
dismal waste is exposed in winter to tremendous snowstorms, in summer to the 
still more dreaded whirlwinds, driving the hot sand in eddies across the plain, and 
often swallowing up the belated wayfarer. 

Like most limestone systems, the parallel Brahui chains are broken at intervals 
bv deep transverse fissures, through which the perennial or intermittent torrents 
rush from terrace to terrace, down to the plains. Many of these gorges present 
a series of zigzag lines, disposed at sharp angles with almost geometrical symmetry. 
Till recently they formed the only route from the plain to the plateau, although 
practicable onlv in the dry season, or when the water was low enough to leave a 
footing on either side. As many as eleven roads of this sort, some not yet explored 
by Europeans, connect the Kalat uplands with Kachi-Gandava. Of these the easiest 
is that of Milon or Mula, which rises gradually from the Gandava oasis to the 
Jalawan tableland. But, owing to the great length, it has at all times been less 
frequented than the famous Bolan Pass, which runs from the northern extremity of 
Kachi-Gandava up to the Dasht-i-Bedaulat, and which the British engineers have 
converted into a fine carriage road, accessible to artillery. But the Bolan itself has 
now been abandoned by most travellers, who generally proceed by the new line of 
railway from Shikarpur to Sibi, at the foot of the hill, and thence follow the Harnai 
valley to Kwatah. 

The loftiest section of the Brahui highlands is occupied by Kalat, capital of the 
khanate. As shown bv the course of the streams radiating in all directions from 
this water-parting, the traveller must descend from the plateau of Kalat, whatever 
route he may take. Kalat stands at an altitude of 6,800 feet, which is rivalled by 
but few crests in the highlands stretching south of the Brahui hills. The parallel 
chains, which begin beyond the Mula Pass, and run nearly due north and south, 
form a well-marked natural limit between the Baluch uplands and the plains of 
Sind, thanks, however, to their arid character rather than to their absolute elevation. 
These Khirtar or Hala Mountains in fact scarcely rise more than a few hundred 
feet above the plateau stretching westwards. One peak alone appears to exceed 
7,000 feet above the sea. while most of the crests attain an altitude of little more 
than 5,000 or 6,000 feet. 

West of the Khirtar range the Baluch plateau falls gradually towards the 
Arabian Sea. Here a spur from the Kalat highlands projecting southwards forms 
the water-parting between the Meshkid basin and the region draining southwards to 
the sea. This southern plateau is broken into three main sections of parallel chains 
running chiefly east and west and increasing in altitude landwards. Thus we 
ascend from the southernmost section, which is scarcely 200 feet above the sea, to 



a central terrace 2,000 feet high, and thence to a third attaining an elevation 
df 1,000 feet. Most of the intervening ranges arc pierced by ravines or broad 
openings, so that the whole country is intersected in all directions by natural 

routes accessible to caraxans. 

Parallel with the inland ranges runs the Baluch seaboard, better known 
by the name of Mekran, which has been cut by the action of the waves into 
numerous steep headlands from ■'{<>() to loo feet high, following in uniform 
succession and separated from each other by sandy bays with regularly curved 
beaches. Thus the peninsulas of Grwadar and Omara projecting seawards between 

Fig. 22.— Passes in N'okth Baluchistan. 
Scale 1 : 900,000. 

■' ,"S. r 


-•*' "•V r F*^-- s, - a - n ^*^ ez '^~ 



■ t A 

C. . af Greenwich 

.Ki.-. _i«i_ 

Railways Completed. 


. :." Mil.-. 

semicircular inlets of smooth water present an analogous appearance to the 
promontory of Gicns and other headlands, connected only by a few sandy strips with 
the mainland. But the whole coast of Mekran seems to have been considerably 
upheaved since the formation of these promontories, for they stand at present 
at a much higher level than the intermediate strands. 

Notwithstanding its numerous inlets, the Baluch seaboard nowhere offers any 
convenient havens for large vessels. The water shoals everywhere so gradually 
that men-of-war are unable to approach nearer than 2 or '■$ miles of the coast, 
where no landing could be attempted during the prevalence of the south-west 



monsoon, from March to September. But when depths of 140 or 150 feet are 
reached, the plummet often sinks abruptly 400 or 500 fathoms into the abyss 
of the Indian Ocean. 

Like the islands of Ramri and Cheduba in British Burma, the Mekran ooasl 
presents abundant traces of igneous action, betrayed by numerous thermal waters 
and as many as eighteen mud volcanoes, forming in many places prominent features 
in the landscape. In the province of Las, bordering on India, seven of these 
cones, running close to the shore, are regarded by the Hindus as so many fragments 
of the goddess Durga, and from the bubbling mud of these volcanoes the devout 
pilgrims cast their horoscopes. Near the Por or Puri River, west of the port of 

Fig. 23. — Bast Mekran Searoakd. 
Scale 1 : 1,150,000. 

E of Gr 6i"50- 


o to 32 Eeet. 

32 to 320 Feet. 

320 Feet and 

^30 Miles. 

Somniani, another rises in the middle of the plain to the height of 400 feet, 
terminating with a crater 4G0 feet in circumference. This is the Raj Ram 
Chander, or Chander Kups, which, like all the others, ejects mud and salt water. 

River Systems. 

Baluchistan is one of the most arid regions in Asia, notwithstanding its 
exposure to the south-west monsoons, which discharge much of their moisture 
especially at the north-east corner of the plateau, where the land attains its 
greatest elevation. Here there is a considerable rain during the summer mouths, 


when some of the closed basins, as well as the valleys confined between the parallel 
ranges, are occasionally converted into temporary lakes. Put the trade-winds 
reaching the Mekran Beahoard have already lost much of their moisture in then 
passage across the Smith Arabian deserts. Eence the Eindu peasantry in the 
Baluoh oasis have been obliged, like those of the other pari of Irania, to construct 
karezes, or underground conduits in some of tlic most fertile valleys. Hut 
the Baluch natives, being unable to keep these channels in repair, depend Eor 
their supplies altogether on the water- of the nudi, or intermittent .streams. Yet 
from its general appearance the land seems to have formerly been much more 
copiously irrigated. Traces of inundations, and even of permanent flooded basins, 
are visible in valleys which are uow completely destitute of water, and wells 
sunk near the shore prove that there is still a large supply below the surface. 

The Baluch rivers falling into the Arabian Sea flow mostly in narrow beds 
direct to the coast, and even in the rainy districts send down but little water. 
The Dasht, or " River of the Plain," which reaches the sea close to the Persian 
frontier, has a larger volume than the other coast streams, because in its upper 
course it follows one of the depressions between the parallel coast ranges, thus 
developing a basin of considerable extent. Yet for half the year it fails to reach 
the sea, and at this period the bar at its mouth remains exposed. The most 
copious river in Baluchistan is the Meshkid, most of whose headstreams rise in 
the Persian district of Sarhad, and flow first south-east in the direction of the 
Arabian Sea. But on entering Baluchistan they converge in a common channel 
south of the Sianeh-Koh, and thence flow east to the Rakshan, which drains 
the Panjgur district. The united stream then trends northwards through the 
gorges separating the Sianeh-Koh from the Koh-i-Sabz, beyond which it takes a 
north-westerly course to the closed basin, where it runs out in the swamps and 
sands, lint this basin never sends its overflow farther north to the great depression 
of Sistan, as still represented on many modern maps. The Hamun, or marsh, to 
which the Meshkid sends its waters in the rainy season, occupies the central 
position of the Charan desert between the 28° and 29° north latitude, and from 
Maciircgor's recent exploration it appears thai this Eamun is completely cut ell 
from that of Sistan by a lofty range of hills. During the floods it forms an 
extensive freshwater basin, but, at other times it becomes a shallow reservoir 
of saline or brackish water. Parts of the surrounding plain are naturally fertile, 
although little cultivated, but the surface is elsewhere covered with a saline 
ctHorescence several inches thick, which yields an abundant supply of salt to the 
surrounding districts. West of the Hamun-el- Mashkid the natives report the 
existence of the Kindi or Talah, another swamp, which receives tic- northern 
drainage of the basin. In north-cast Baluchistan also the Lora, or river of 
Sharawak, flows to a third hamun in the middle of the desert. 

According to MacGrregor the Kharan desert is much more accessible than 
many of the sandy wastes in Persia, Arabia, and Africa. It is well known to 
the caravans, which can always fly after a day's march at least on a well of 
brackish water and a little fodder for the camels. But there are certain districts 


carefully avoided by travellers, who would inevitably perish if overtaken by the 
terrible " simoon," a hot pestilential wind before which the dunes drive like ocean 
billows. At times also the air, although perfectly still, is filled with suffocating 
clouds of dust, a phenomenon attributed by the natives to the action of the solar 
rays on the fine particles of sand. Towards the east Pottinger traversed for five 
days a region of dunes with a mean height of 15 to 20 feet, all moving west 
and east, under the influence of the prevailing winds, and consisting of a fine 
reddish dust. Camels coming from the Meshkid across the sea of sands glide on 
their knees gently down the slopes facing eastwards. North of the Meshkid 
Hamun, MacGregor saw a large number of dunes of a different character, all 
moving north and south, some rising 60 feet above the plain and developing 
perfectly regular crescents, capacious enough to embrace a whole regiment between 
their two horns. Towards the Afghan frontier the sands take mainly a north- 
easterly direction, so that the various forms and disposition of these dunes, like 
those of the Thar desert in India, may perhaps be to some extent caused by the 
various oscillations of the ground. 

Owing to the relief of the land, tne climate of Baluchistan presents within a 
relatively limited extent the most surprising contrasts. In the argillaceous and 
rocky basins of the coast streifms, as well as on the Kachi-Gandava plain at the 
foot of the Brahui Hills, many districts are popularly compared to the lower 
regions ; while on the bleak plateaux, at elevations of 6,000 feet and upwards, the 
traveller is exposed to keen northern blasts, and often runs the risk of being 
swallowed up in the winter snows. A similar contrast is naturally presented by 
the vegetation, which, however, is everywhere characterised by the almost total 
absence of forest growths. The slopes are sometimes clothed with various species 
of the juniper, and with the happuer (zizipkus jiijuba), which yields a useful 
building-timber. In the valleys the hamlets are surrounded by a few mulberries, 
tamarinds, or plantains, while the brooks are fringed with willows. Most of the 
fruit-trees indigenous to West Asia, such as the peach, apricot, pear, apple, plum, 
pomegranate, almond, walnut, fig, and vine, besides the mango and date, flourish in 
the more favoured districts. In the hot lands the most common plant is the pish 
(chamarops ritchiana), a species of dwarf palm, whose trailing roots spread out 15 
or 16 feet along the ground. To the Baluch it is as serviceable as is the bamboo to 
the Hindu, supplying him with food, and materials for cordage, tinder, sandals, and 
excellent matting. 

At corresponding altitudes the Baluch fauna, which was little known before the 
exploration of St. John, differs in no respect from those of the Afghan plateaux, 
of the Hilmend depression and plains of India. But the lion, now so rare even in 
India, has disappeared altogether, while the leopard is very common. The hyena, 
wolf, wild boar, and a species of black bear that lives on roots, are also met. 
Gazelles frequent the skirt of the desert, and herds of wild asses are able to pass 
the whole day in solitudes entirely destitute of water and vegetation. Peculiar to 
Baluchistan are the nectarinia, a beautiful bird resplendent in all the colours of the 
rainbow, and the urosmastix lizard, which at a distance looks like a rabbit, and to 


which the Persians \ii\r the name of " goat-sucker," believing thai he bleats like a 
kid in order to attract and milk the she-goat. The Bffekran coasl teems with fish, 
ami St. John derives this name from the Arabic Mohi-Khoran, that is, " Fish- 
rs." Tin' inhabitants of this seaboard certainly deserve this title of khthyophagi 
already given to them by the Greeks of Alexander's expedition. 

I Ml m; I I \\ is. — BALUCHES — BB uii Is. 

The Baluches, whose name is applied to the khanate of Kalat as will as to the 
whole "f south-east Persia, are not the dominant people of the country. The race, 
in fact, seems to he must numerously represented beyond the khanat« — in Persia, in 
the Indian province of Sind, and in Rajastan, to which the Baluches emigrate in 
large numbers from their ble;ik and barren highlands. They are usually grouped 
with the Aryan -.tuck, and are regarded as closely related to the Persians, being 
descended from tin natives converted to Islam at the time of the Abassidcs. Some, 
however, do not appear to belong to this stock, and, to judge from their features, 
the tribes on the Afghan frontier have much Mongol blood, being often indis- 
tinguishable from the Kirghiz nomads Unanimous tradition traces other Baluches, 
as well as some Brahuis, to Syria and Arabia, from which they are supposed to 
have migrated either about the time of the Prophet or much later. Several Arab 
tribes of the Damascus and Aleppo districts are said to hear the same name as 
some of the Baluch clans in Mekran and Kachi-Gandava, whom they also greatly 
resemble in appearance. Except on the plateaux, nearly all are of a deep brown 
complexion, with high brows, long face, piercing glance, abundant hair and beard. 
Put notwithstanding these and other traits, including a decided taste for brigandage, 
which they have in common with the Bedouin, all speak a language akin to modern 
Persian, but the pronunciation of which differs greatly from that of the polished 
Iranians. Religious expressions are borrowed from the Arabic, and those of trade 
and the industries from the Hindu dialects. 

With the exception of a few hostile Shiah tribes on the Persian frontier, all the 
Baluches are Mohammedans of the Suuni sect. Like the Afghans, thev are divided 
into a large number of khels, which occasionally change both name and residence. 
Hence the tribal nomenclature differs with almost every writer, although the great 
natural divisions correspond mainly with the geographical areas. The Baluches 
of the uplands are collectively known as Xharui, and those of the Kachi-Gandava 
lowlands a- Binds, and Maghsi or Moghasi. The latter, however, have become so 
intermingled with foreign element, that they may be regarded as forming a distinct 
ethnical group, now speaking Tatki, a Sind dialect current amongst the Jat 
peasantry. Much diversity also prevails in their dwellings, some tribes living in 
ghedans, or black fell tents, others in huts, and even in a kind of mud forts. 

In several parts of the plateau many tribes form an intermediate link between 
the Baluch and Brahui races, the latter of whom are found in the purest state in 
the central provinces of Sarawan and Jhalawan. According to Masson, these 
Mrahuis penetrated from the west, as apparently indicated by their name of 


Barohi-i, which has been interpreted, " Arrivals from the West." Yet their central 
position on the plateau would seem to imply that they are the true aborigines, or 
at least the oldest inhabitants of this section of the Iranian tableland. They are 
probably the descendants of the Gedrosians met here by Alexander, and their 
national speech, although affected by numerous Persian and some Pushtu and 
Hindu elements, would seem to be fundamentally connected rather with the 
Dravidian family of the Dekkan, and more particularly with the Gond group of 
the Central Indian highlands. Judging from their language, which, however, 
possesses no written monument, the Brahuis would therefore appear to be a 
detached fragment of the old Dravidian people who, before the arrival of the 
Aryans, occupied the whole of India and a portion of Irania, and who, by some 
ethnologists, have been affiliated to the Uralo- Altaic stock. Broken into separate 
groups by the intruding Aryans, they may have thus remained for ages isolated 
from each other in the Baluch and Vindhyan highlands. 

This assumption of the philologists is to some extent justified by the physical 
appearance of the Brahuis, who differ greatly from the Persians and Arabs, and 
whose features are much flatter and rounder than those of the Baluches, with more 
thick-set frames, larger bones, and shorter figures. They are also of much darker 
colour, and amongst them persons of fair complexion are never found, as amongst 
the Baluches. While no less hospitable than the other inhabitants of the plateau, 
they are more truthful, less cruel, revengeful, and avaricious. At the same time 
they are very industrious, and seldom interrupt their ordinary pursuits to engage 
in tribal warfare, readily allowing themselves to be persuaded by their women to 
peacefully settle their differences. The women themselves are much respected, 
and the death of one of them in a local feud would be regarded by both sides as a 
public calamity. Some freedom is also allowed to the youth of both sexes in the 
choice of their partners for life, and in this matter a simple promise on the part of 
either family interested is regarded as permanently binding. Even should the 
young man die before the marriage, his place is immediately taken by a younger 
brother. In the Brahui country chedas or mounds are erected over the graves of 
the dead by the wayside, and chaps, or rings of stones, commemorate the marriages 
and other important events among the nomad tribes. 

As in Afghanistan and Turkestan, the great majority of the inhabitants of the 
towns and villages are Tajiks, here commonly known as Dehvars or Dekhans, that 
is, "Peasants." They speak Persian, and in physique differ in no respect from 
their kindred elsewhere. They are a peaceful, industrious people, who have had 
much to endure from the conquering races, and who ask for nothing except to be 
allowed tranquilly to pursue their industrial and agricultural occupations. The 
Tajiks have maintained the purity of their blood in most provinces, alliances with 
the women of the intruding tribes being interdicted by custom. Near the coast. 
and especially in the province of Las, bordering on Sind, the industries and culti- 
vation of the land are chiefly in the hands of the Numri or Lumri, akin to the Jats 
of Hindustan. Like the Baluches, the Numri arc divided into a great number of 
khels, caused by differences of pursuits and locality, but all evidently belonging to 



the same ethnical stork, and speaking dialects of the Bame Jatfci language. Thej 
hold an intermediate position between the Iranians and Hindus, betraying even in 
their religious observances some remarkable transitions between the two races. 
Thus by -oiim' tribes Mohammed is vein-rated as the tenth incarnation of Vishnu, 
while others combine Brahmanieal rites with the precepts of the Koran. In the 

Fig. 24. — Inhabitants op Balui histan. 

Scale 1 : 7,800,000. 


Dehvarsand Baluches. Afghans. Mekrani. Hindus. Kurds. Tariand Eakars. Brabui. 
Tajik*. Jats. I'ishin. 
18 Miles. 

large towns a considerable portion of the inhabitants also belong to the Hindu race 
properly so called, and nearly the whole trade of the country is in the hands of the 
Baniahs from Gujarat and Bombay, or of the Multani, Shikarpuri, and Marwari 
merchants from Sind and Rajputana. 

Other ethnical elements in Baluchistan are the Kakar and Tari Afghan tribes 
on the north-east frontier, some Arab communities on the Mekran coast, a few 



Kurdish adventurers from West Irania, and some Negro or Mulatto slaves imported 
from Mascat. Here are also the Luri nomads, who speak a peculiar language, and 
who differ in no respect from the gipsies of the Danube in Europe. They roam 
about as strolling minstrels with their dancing bears and monkeys, and every tribe 
has its "king," besides its fortune-tellers, who know all the secrets of the magic 
art, and predict the future by chiromancy, by the combination of numerals, and 

Fig. 2.5. — Kalat and Neighborhood. 
Scale 1 : 940,000. 


66° 50 

E . of Greenwich 

6 Miles. 

the disposition of the figures formed by the sand on vibrating plates. By means 
of these practices the Luri are said to frequently insinuate themselves into the 
household in order to rob or kidnap the children ; for these Baluch nomads, 
like their European brethren, are popularly accused of all manner of crimes and 
malignant influences. 

The English, who are the paramount race, are represented by a mere handful of 



officials and others in the territory of their vassal, (he Chan of Kalat. Bui their 
subjects of other races, especially Hindus, are numerous in all the trading centres. 

Topograph's — Administration. 

Several of the Baluch provinces arc inhabited exclusively by nomads, and in 
these districts the so-called " towns " are mere groups of tents. Towns and villages 

Fig. 26.— Up.nk.rai, View ok 

with fixed resiliences are found only in the eastern and southern divisions. The 
Afghan frontier is guarded by Kwatah (Quefta, Kot, Shal, Shal-kot), the chief 
British stronghold, which lies on the route leading from Shikarpur to Kandahar, 
and which i> garrisoned by a detachment from the Anglo-Indian army. Jt stands 
in a basin, whicb belonged formerly to Afghanistan, and which is at present 
scarcely L8 miles from the stream forming the official frontier of Baluchistan. 
Here converge the two routes from India, through the Bolan and (,'hapar Passes, as 


well as those running north from the capital of the khanate, and over the Khojak 
Pass south from Kandahar. Some old towers still standing here and there at the 
entrance of the gorges attest the importance attached at all times to this strategic 
position on the threshold of Afghanistan, Baluchistan, and India. Under the 
shelter of the Kot or Kuatith, t\vdt is, "Citadel," a considerable town of about 1,000 
houses has sprung up, inhabited chiefly by Afghans, Erahuis, and Hindus. Lying 
5,600 feet above the sea level, in the midst of extensive grassy plains, and enjoj'ing 
a temperate climate, corresponding to that of Western Europe, Kwatah offers special 
advantages as a British health resort and military cantonment. Mustang, the chief 
station on the road to Kalat, to these advantages adds that of a very fertile and 
well- watered district, yielding excellent grapes and other produce in abundance. 

Kalat, that is, the " Castle," has become the largest place in Baluchistan since 
its selection as the seat of government. Its position at the highest point of the 
plateau enables it to command all the routes to India, to the coast, to Afghanistan, 
and Persia. But Kalat lies at the extremity of a rocky mountain range, where it 
is exposed to the full fury of the northern gales. Here the ground remains covered 
with snow for two months in the year, and corn ripens later than in the British 
Isles, although standing 25 degrees nearer to the equator. The surrounding 
gardens arc watered by a copious stream of pure water, which rises near the royal 
necropolis on a plain draining north-westwards to the Lora River of Pishin. In 
the neighbourhood are the shapeless ruins of three other considerable tow T ns, which 
bear witness to the great importance attached from the remotest times to this region 
of the plateau. 

South-east of Kalat begins another river valley, whose waters drain through the 
Mula gorge towards the Indus, but are not copious enough to reach that stream. 
In the neighbourhood of some ruins near the head of the valley the face of the rock 
bears an inscription in Greek. The modern town of Zehr or Zehri, encircled by 
mud enclosures, and built, like Kalat, of half-baked bricks, gives its name to one of the 
side valleys of the Mula and to the Brahui tribe inhabiting it. This is the chief 
place met by travellers on the route to India. At the issue of the gorge, where 
the waters of the torrent are distributed in irrigating rills over the surrounding 
gardens, lies Gandava, which has acquired some importance both as the capital of 
the province of Kaehi-Gandava, as a British military cantonment, and as the 
winter residence of the khan. Formerly the most populous place en the plain was 
Bay)), or " the Garden," which lies north-east of Gandava in an oasis of palms on 
the western verge of the desert. Bagh enjoyed a monopoly of the sulphur mines 
situated in the neighbouring hills not far from the town of C/wram. North of the 
plain are Dadur and Sibi, the present terminal stations of the railway from the 
Indus to the Afghan plateau. 

Through this railway Kalat and the whole of Baluchistan already enjoy direct 
communication with the coast at Karachi. The shorter route from Kalat to 
Sonmiani has been abandoned owing to the great scarcity of water along the road. 
Throughout the whole descent of about Mod miles there are only six springs copious 
enough to supply the caravans without being exhausted. Khosaar, one of these 



stations, with a small British garrison commanding flu Mula Pass, lies at an alti- 
tude of I.ihii) (Vet, in the midst of gardens and palm-groves. l'>ut the antimony 
and lead mines near Sekran, farther to the west, are no longer worked. Vast ruins, 
heaps of rubbish, and the remains of towers known as ghar-baatas, or " palaces of 

the Infidel," show that the district must have been formerly much better watered, 
as it certainly was far more densely peopled than at present. One of these ruined 

Fig. 27.— K \i hi-Uaniuva Oasis. 
Scale 1 : 440,000. 

12 Miles. 

cities, to the north-west of Bela, still preserves its ancient name of Shehr-i-Rogon. 
It crowns the summit of a conglomerate cliff, at whose foot flows an affluent of the 
I'mali, the Arabis of the Greek navigators. 

Sonmiani, the seaport of the province of Las, and at one time of the whole of 
East Baluchistan, has been completely eclipsed by Karachi, which enjoys the 
decided advantage of lying nearer to the Indus delta. Possessing no artificial 


shelter, the harbour of Sonmiani, with a depth of about 16 feet, is exposed to the 
full fury of the south-west monsoon. It is also badly supplied with water from 
wells, which, although sunk in the sands above the level of the tide, soon become 
brackish. This part of the khanate is connected with India both commercially 
and by the origin and religion of a large number of its inhabitants. On a 
mountain near the river Aghor or Hinghol, in the west of the province, stands the 
famous temple of Hinglaj, still frequented by thousands of Hindu pilgrims. Here 
animals are sacrificed to the goddess Kali, and the devotees never fail to visit the 
islet of Ashtola, or Satadip, between the ports of Ormara and Pasni, whose rugged 
crest is crowned by a highly-venerated sanctuary. Ashtola was the " Enchanted 
Island " of Nearchus. 

The seaports of Sonmiani, with its two harbours, and Pasni, with its telegraph 
station, are mere groups of huts built of matting suspended on poles. But Gwadar, 
capital of Baluch Mekran, is regarded by the neighbouring half-savage tribes as 
quite a magnificent city, famous far and wide for its sumptuous edifices. It 
occupies a picturesque position on the strip of sand connecting a rocky islet with 
the fantastic Mehdi Hills, where its mat houses are grouped round a square fort of 
somewhat imposing appearance. The chief industry of Gwadar is fishing, in which 
hundreds of small craft are employed, besides some thirty larger vessels engaged in 
the export trade to Mascat, Karachi, Bombay, and Malabar. The British mail- 
steamers touch twice a month at this place, which thus enjoys direct communica- 
tion with the civilised world. Its chief imports are cotton and other woven goods, 
timber, rice, sugar, taken in exchange for wool, raw cotton, butter, dates from the 
interior, besides large quantities of salt fish and sharks' fins for the Chinese market. 
On the flank of the hill overlooking Gwadar are the remains of a vast reservoir 
constructed by the Portuguese. 

Kej is often mentioned as the chief town of Baluch Mekran ; but no such 
place exists, Kej really consisting of a group of oases, each with its separate village. 
Such "towns," as Tamp, Main/, Nigor, Sami, Daaht, Parom, and Panjur, are also 
mere collections of hamlets scattered over the oases. The gardens of Panjur, 
watered by underground galleries (karez) attributed to supernatural agency, yield 
as many as seventeen varieties of dates. 

The khan belongs to the Kambarani branch of the Brahuis, who claim Arab 
descent, and refuse to intermarry with the other tribes. Residing alternately ;il 
Kalat and Gandava, the khan enjoys a nominal authority over a vast territory ; 
but he is really one of the least powerful of all the vassals of the Indian Empire, 
and he is so poor that his chief source of revenue is the pension granted him by his 
protectors. According to the treaty of 1841 he binds himself to be always guided 
by the counsels of the British Resident at his court, to allow English garrisons in 
every suitable town in Baluchistan, to lend his assistance whenever called upon, 
and lastly to accept the annual subsidy, which constitutes him a simple functionary 
of the paramount State. Since then diplomatic relations have been disturbed, but 
on the other hand good services have been rewarded, and the subsidy advanced 
from £5,000 to £10,000. The alliance with England lias also helped to consolidate 



the authority of the khan over the Feudal chiefs, whose claims to independent 
riglits arc completely ignored by the British Government, The khan alone is 

recognised, made responsible for the general tranquillity, and when necessary 
assisted in his efforts to reduce unruly tribes and restless chiefs, Next to the 
khan the foremost state dignitaries are always the two great ISrahui sardars of 
Jhalawan and Sarawan. The hereditary vizier belongs to the Dehvar or Tajik 
section of the community, which, by (he regular payment of the taxes, contributes 
almost exclusively to the support of the State. In Mekran most of the local tribes 
are practically independent of the central power, and the 1'ort of (iwadar, pledged 

to the Sultan of Mascat, is governed by one of his officers. The khan disposes of 

an armed force of about !{,000 men, while the yearh revenue scarceh amounts to 
£ in, 000. 

Excluding the deserl wastes and the districts claimed by Persia, the political 
divisions of Baluchistan proper are as under: — 

Chief Districts. 

Sarawan, Nushki, Kharan, Muahki. 
Khozdar, Sohrab, Wadd, Eolwah, 

Mekran, Dasht, Kej, Paujur. 

1 KH Hires. 

Chief Towns 

Shal . 


Kalat . 


Kachi-Gandava . 




Jhalawan . 








IHE term Persia, or Farsistan, is at present locally applied only to a 
small province in the kingdom. The natives still call their country 
by the old name of Iran, which, however, is also used geographically 
to designate the whole region of plateaux comprised between the 
Euphrates and Indus basins. From the historic standpoint, Iran 
has even a wider application in contrast with the term Turan, in this sense 
embracing all the cultured peoples of more or less pure Iranian blood scattered 
over the plateau and the Turkestan lowlands, where they form the fixed agricul- 
tural and industrial element in the midst of the half-savage nomad intruders from 
the north. In the historic evolution of Hither Asia, Iran thus represents the 
t radii inns of labour and intellectual culture; it recalls a long succession of 
powerful nations engaged from age to age in an incessant struggle with countless 
barbarous hordes. Conscious and proud of their antiquity as a polished race, the 
Persians look scornfully on the surrounding populations, less cultured or more 
recently reclaimed from barbarism than themselves. Whatever progress even the 
Western peoples may have made in science, art, and the industries, they none the 
less consider themselves as vastly superior in hereditary uobility to these later 
arrivals on the scene. It must in any case be allowed that Iran has played no 
slight part in the common work of humanity. In order to trace their languages to 
their source, the peoples of Aryan speech turn necessarily to the plateau where 
flourished the Zend and other Persian tongues, at all times the pre-eminently 
cultured idioms for the surrounding populations. Even in our days Afghans and 
Baluches alike affect the Persian speech when desirous of courting the esteem of 
their audience. Even in India Persian letters Long struggled for the supremacy 
with Sanskrit and neo-Sanskritic tongues ; and Hindustani, so widely diffused 
throughout the peninsula, is still overcharged witli Persian elements introduced by 
the Iranian conquerors. 

In the religious evolution of the Wot Asiatic and European peoples, a para- 
mount influence was also exercised by the land of Zoroaster. In the sacred 
writings of the ancient Persians the conflict between the two principles i> gel forth 

76 SOUTH-\\t:stki;\ Asia. 

with the creates! Fulness, and from them the later beliefs have borrowed their 
degrading teachings on the everlasting straggle between "good" and "evil," 
surrounded by their respective hosts of angels and demons. During the first 
developments of Christianity the action of Persia is betrayed in the rise of 
numerous Gnostic sects, the indelible trace of whose theories still tinges the 
doctrines of modern Christendom. The cull known specially by the name of 
" Persian " has ii"W scarcely any adherents in the country itself, and flourishing 
communities of " Parsis" survive only in India. 15ut while embracing Islam, tin- 
Iranians imparted a fresh Eorm to the conquering religion. Tiny became Shiahs, 
thus breaking the unity of Mohammedanism, which elsewhere, in Turkey, Arabia, 
Afghanistan, India, Turkestan, is almost exclusively Sunnite. Since the birth of 
the Shiah sect, the movement of religious life has continued in Persia, and con- 
temporary European pantheism is associated more closely than is generally 
supposed with the Asiatic ideas of the universal godhead, which have nowhere 
found more fervent interpreters than among the Persian poets. Every philosophic 
concept, every fresh dogma, linds in Persia eloquent champions or zealous apostles. 
Iran has thus ever been one of the chief centres of inspiration for the religious 

Vet a land which has played such a prominent pari in the history of Asia ami 
the West represents numerically but a small fraction of humanity. liven including 
Turks, Kurds, lialuchos, and Arabs, the whole population of Iran cannot exceed 
ten millions. The estimates usually made by travellers and the best-informed 
Local functionaries range from seven to eight millions; that is, five times less than 
Prance absolutely, and fifteen times less relatively to the respective areas of the 
two countries. Although various writers speak of fifty millions in the empire "I 
Darius, Iran seems nut even in the most flourishing times to have been very densely 
peopled. .Much of the country is a complete desert, where the sands, hard marl, and 
saline tracts, although formerly less extensive than at present, encroached in one 
direction on the arable lands, which were on the other hemmed in by the rocky 
scarps of the highlands. It was from the conquered peoples of the surrounding 
plains that the Persian monarchs mainly drew those prodigious armies id' several 
hundred thousand men with which they Overran Seythia. Egypt, Asia Minor, 
Thrace, and Northern Hellas. Bui however weak they may have been in point of 
numbers, the ancient Persians still enjoyed all the advantages ensured to them by 
the geographical position of the land. 

Historically the Iranian plateau forms a region of transition for the various 
races moving westwards. Sere the Asiatic continent is, by the Caspian Sea and 
Persian Gulf, limited north and south to a space scarcely 400 miles wide. This 
narrow isthmus is further reduced by the low-lying and unhealthy coast-lands and 
almost inaccessible highlands to a tract not more than .'500 miles wide really 
available for the movements of migrating peoples between the two great sections 
of the continent. The unknown Scythian steppes north of the Syrcanian Sea 
served only as camping-grounds lor barbarous nomads cut off from all intercourse 
with civilised peoples. Hence history properly so called could find a tilting scene 


nowhere beyond the narrow plateau comprised between the Elburz and Susiana 
Mountains. Here was the natural meeting-place of peoples of diverse speech, 
cultures, and religions ; here consequently were developed the new ideas inspired by 
the contact and intermingling of these conflicting elements. Throughout the 
historic period peoples of " Turanian " origin have at all times found themselves in 
juxtaposition with the Aryan races on the Iranian plateau. These two great 
Central Asiatic stocks were here represented formerly by the Medea and Persians, 
who in modern times have been respectively succeeded by the Turki and Farsi 
ethnical groups. Thus have been perpetuated in this region open warfare, 
internecine strife, provincial and local rivalries, and this very incessant conflict has 
doubtless largely contributed to the Iranian doctrine of the eternal struggle between 
the two principles of good and evil. But all these hostile elements, while 
bequeathing to each successive generation an inheritance of endless discord, have 
at least intermingled their blood and genius, as is well attested by their history, 
religions, and literature. In this Iranian laboratory the migrating tribes thus 
became rapidly modified, and issued forth endowed with a new intellectual life, 
some descending the Euphrates valley to Syria and Egypt, some through Asia 
Minor and across the intervening waters to Southern Europe, or else through the 
various " gates " of the Caucasus into the northern plains of Sarmatia. Persia in 
this way became the great centre of dispersion along the three main historic high- 
w ya diverging towards North Africa, South Europe, and the regions draining to 
the Baltic and German Ocean. 

Formerly almost unassailable in the centre of. the vast continental political 
systems, Persia has long ceased to enjoy the advantages of this geographical 
position. The Arabian Sea, which had hitherto guarded the approaches from the 
south, now on the contrary invites foreign aggression. On the north the Caspian 
waters, no longer stretching away to unknown solitudes, are girdled round by 
military highways and chains of Slavonic settlements, while the ports and routes of 
the opposite shores are connected by regular lines of steamers. Thus Persia, which 
2,000 years ago enjoyed perfect immunity from attack on her northern and southern 
flanks, is now exposed in these directions to the encroachments of the two great 
Asiatic powers whose capitals are seated on the Thames and Neva. Between these 
rivals for supremacy, the political independence of Iran has become little more than 
nominal. The Russians, who had temporarily seized the west Caspian seaboard so 
early as 1725, have since 1828 wrested from Persia all her Trans-Caucasian 
provinces, and by a recent treaty the hitherto undetermined frontier towards 
Turkestan has been modified to their advantage. The island of Ashuradeh. 
held by them at the south-east corner of the ( laspian, is an advanced military post 
whence the Cossacks might iD a few days present themselves before the residence of 
the Shah. 

And if the Caspian has become a Russian, the Persian Gulf has become an 
"English" lake, where the practical supremacy of the British consuls is never 
challenged. The headland of Jask, at the entrance of the Cult, is even already 
occupied by a Sepoy garrison, while a simple naval demonstration would suffice at 



once to deprive the Persian Government of all its maritime customs. In recent 
years the " King of kings " has been fain, at 1 1 1« ■ pleasure of England, to renounce 
hi- designs on Eerat, and to allow a " rectification " of his frontiers in sistan. In 
the interior British and Russian officers are alike received as masters. Thej are 
permitted quietly to rnirvey the land, prepare charts, collect for strategic purposes all 
needful information, which is kept mostly sealed up in the military ai-elmes id' the 
tun empires. Although Persia has been frequently visited since the days of 
Marco Polo, and although the travels of .lonas Eanway, Thevenot, and Chardin 

Fig. 2S. — Routes of nit Cum i ExPLORBBS 01 I'fuma B1NC1 Makco I 
Scale 1 : 18,000,000. 

L • of . - 

3C0 Miles. 

during the last century may still be read with interest, still by far the most 
important cartographic documents are those drawn up by the English and Russian 
surveyors at the request of their respective Governments. The Turco- Persian 
frontier in Kurdistan has been determined exclusively in accordance witli tic 
surveys of the two generals Williams and Chirikov. 

"Without precise natural limits toward the east, where the plateau and mountain 
ranges merge imperceptibly in those of Afghanistan and Baluchistan, Persia pre- 
sents on its three other sides well-defined geographical frontiers. Here the plati au 
is everywhere enclosed by barriers of lofty ranges, separating it on the north from 


the Caspian and Turkestan depressions, westwards from the Mesopotamian plains, 
elsewhere from the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman. "Within these outer ramparts 
the surface is largely covered with extensive sandy, argillaceous, or saline waters 
depressed towards the centre. Hence the population has been concentrated chiefly 
on the outskirts, in the north, west, and south-west, in the valleys supplying 
sufficient water for irrigating purposes. The inhabitants thus nowhere present 
a compact mass, but are distributed in two distinct columns converging between the 
Caspian and Upper Tigris valley in the province of Aderbeijan. 

The North-Eastern Highlands. 

Notwithstanding the intermediate flooded cavity of the Caspian, the north- 
eastern scarp towards Turkestan really forms the regular continuation of the 
Caucasus. The existence of a connecting axis between the two systems is clearly 
indicated by the Apsheron peninsula, by the submarine banks and islets terminating 
at the Krasnovodsk headland, lastly by the two ridges of the Great and Little 
Balkan, running directly to the "Turkoman Caucasus," which under the diyers 
names of the Kuran-dagh, Kopet-dagh, Gulistan Hills, and Kara-dagh, stretch 
south-eastwards to the Heri-rud valley. Beyond this point the mountains, which 
take first an easterly then a north-easterly direction, belong to the Parapomisus 
system. Thanks to the explorations of the Russian surve}-ors commissioned to lay 
down the new frontier, the whole of this region of the Turkoman Caucasus has 
begun to be better known in its topographical details. The large chart of the 
lower Atrek region published some years ago is now being extended on the same 
scale to the Turkoman Daman-i-Koh (" Skirt of the Hills ") as far as Sarakhs and 

By the boundary treaty of 1882 some fertile valleys draining to the Atrek, with 
extensive grazing-lands and magnificent oak forests, have been restored to Persia. 
But in return for this concession the Shah surrenders to Russia his claims to 
the suzerainty of Merv, the " Key of India," as well as some of the Kopet-dagh 
valleys west of Askhabad, and south of Geok-tepe. Here the Russians have 
absorbed the whole of the southern declivity as far as the water-parting, and have 
thus acquired complete control over the streams irrigating the oases of their new 
Turkoman subjects. 

Special importance is imparted to this border range by the presence of springs 
and running waters, which evaporate in the sandy plain at a short distance from the 
hills. The Persian inhabitants of the uplands are the natural owners of these 
streams, which they utilise in the irrigation of their fields. But in this dry and 
sultry climate the water seldom suffices for the wants of all the riverain populations, 
so that those dwelling along the upper and lower course of the rivers necessarily 
become hostile to each other. During the flourishing periods of the Persian 
monarchy the whole of the Atok, or Daman-i-Koh — that is. the fertile zone at th< 
northern foot of the hills — was held by the Iranian-, who drove the Turkomans 
into the desert, and guarded the arable lands from their attacks by a chain of 


vailed towns and Btrongholds. But whenever these formidable nomads succeeded in 
breaking through, they avenged themselves bj the capture or slaughter of those 
wlio had deprived them of the fertilising waters and of all the arable or grassy 
tracts. Before the advent of the Russians the border-lands knew no respite from 
the Turkoman marauders, while traditional hatred was intensified by differences of 
race, religion, and customs, and kept alive by the unequal distribution of the waters. 
Now the frontier-line between these antagonistic elements lias been laid down by 
Russia, which has assigned some of the rivers to the Turkomans, and forbidden the 
Persians to enlarge their cultivated riverain lands, or increase the number of their 
irrigating canals. But seasons of drought cannot be prevented, and then the 
old animosities may easily be re\ ived in a region where the very conditions of exist- 
ence seem to constitute an obstacle to the perfect harmony of the conterminous 

In its eastern section the border chain, whose upper slopes are covered with 
juniper, maintains a tolerably uniform elevation, ranging from K,000 to 10,0(10 feet. 
Projecting towards the plain are several lofty spurs, the most remarkable of which 
is the famous Kelut-i-Nadir, or " Nadir's Fort," so named from Nadir Shah, who 
had made it one of his chief strongholds. It consists of a limestone rock running 
about 20 miles east and west, with a mean breadth of (> miles, and rising 1,000 or 
1,200 feet sheer from the plain. A torrent rising in the southern highlands 
penetrates through a fissure into the interior, where il is distributed in irrigating 
canals over the fertile plots tilling the cavities of the plateau. In ordinary seasons 
enough water remains to return to the bed of the stream and escape to the plains 
through a gorge traversing the rocky mass from south to north. The atmosphere 
of the district is at times rendered very insalubrious by the marshy soil at its outlet. 
The two gates traversed by the stream, as well as three other breaches opened in 
the surrounding ramparts, are all carefully fortified, and the culminating-point 
towards the west is crowned by a dilapidated citadel, amid whose ruins a small 
village has sprung up. From the old fortified palace of Nadir an extensive view is 
commanded of the grey Turkoman plains, while southwards the horizon is bounded 
by the long chain of the Kara-dagh, or "Black Mountains," which are continued 
westwards by the Hazar Mas j id, or "Thousand Mosques." The highest peak, 
which gives its name to this range, is broken into a multitude of pointed eminences, 
compared by the fervid imagination of the pilgrims from Meshed to gigantic 

North-west of Kelat-i-Nadir the main range throws off other elevated spurs, 
enclosing the rich and productive basin of Dereghez, or the "Tamarind Valley," 
whose exuberant vegetation rivals that of the Caspian seaboard in the provinces of 
Ghilan and Mazanderan. Askhabad, standing at the foot of these advanced hills, 
forms the present terminus of the railway constructed by the Russians during the 
late Turkoman war, which is doubtless destined in the near future to be continued 
round the foot of the hills to Afghanistan. The Russian engineers have also 
projected a line through one of the Dereghez valleys, and across the main range 
south-eastwards to Meshed. A short distance beyond the Garm-ab Pass, both 



slopes the of water-parting are included within the new Russian frontier, which 
here descends into the valley of the Samhar, across its tributary, the Chambir, and 
along the parting-line between the Samhar and Atrek basins, to the confluence 
of these rivers. In this region the hills fall gradually towards the Caspian, so 
that the Iranian plateau is easily leached by travellers following the numerous 
valleys between the divergent mountain ranges. 

The Atrek, chief affluent of the Caspian on its Asiatic side, gives its name 
to the whole basin comprised between the Kopet-dagh and Iranian tableland. The 
main stream, which has a total length of not less than 300 miles, reaches an 
elevated plain near Kuehan (4,500 feet), which forms the water-parting between the 
Caspian and Heri-rud declivities. Here we have a striking illustration of the fact 
that the dividing lines of water systems do not always coincide with the crests 
of main ranges. In this region of North Persia the horizon is everywhere limited 
by lofty chains, while the drainage westwards to the Caspian and eastwards to the 
Herat River is determined by scarcely perceptible differences of level on the surface 
of the land. As in so many other cases, the perennial head-stream, although not 
the largest, is regarded by the natives as the true source of the Upper Atrek. 
This spring, known by the name of the Kara Kazan, or " Black Cauldron," forms 
a basin about 150 feet broad, in which the slightly thermal waters well up through 
a thousand vertical channels and remain in a constant state of agitation. 

The hills south of the Atrek valley, although falling to a lower mean altitude, 
are dominated by several peaks higher than any of the summits in the Kopet-dagh 
system. Thus one of the crests visible to the west of Meshed appears to attain an 
elevation of over 11,000 feet ; the Shah-Jehan, near the water-parting between the 
Atrek and Kashef-rud, is said to be about the same height, while the Ala-dagh and 
Kurkud, south-west and west of Bujnurd, rise to 12,500 and 12.700 feet respectively. 
All these north-eastern chains run mainly parallel to the Kopet-dagh, that is, 
north-west and south-east; but they present a less uniform aspect, and are broken 
by a greater number of fissures than the border range. Yet they are less accessible 
to travellers, owing to a greater lack of water, and consequent scanty vegetation. 
The rains brought by the polar and equatorial winds being both alike intercepted by 
the border chains, but little moisture remains for the uplands lying within the 
outer barriers of the Iranian plateau. 

The north-eastern highlands vary greatly in breadth, those lying between the 
Astrabad and Shah-rud plains in the west being scarcely 25 miles wide, while in the 
east the orographic system broadens out in a vast semicircle sweeping round 
between the great desert and Afghanistan. Here as many as twelve lateral ranges, 
nearly all following the normal south-easterly direction of the Persian Mountains, 
are crossed by the route from Meshed to Sistan over passes varying from .'!,UU0 
to upwards of 6,000 feet in height above the sea. On the other hand, the inter- 
mediate depressions between the parallel ridges are often mere sandy wastes, 
rendering the approach from Afghanistan equally difficult whether the route follows 
the valleys or the crests of the hills. 

The mountains whose wooded slopes skirt the southern shores of the Caspian 


are commonly called the Elburz range, although this term belongs properly to an 
isolated mass rising to the north-west of Teheran. This is the ancient Alborj, the 
•• tir-t mountain whence sprang all others," the centre of the seven "symmetrical 
divisions of the earth, corresponding to the seven heavens of the planets and the 
seven circles of hell, the glittering peak that pierces the sky, the source of streama 
and cradle of mortals." 

All those uplands between the Caspian and the plateau consist, not of a single 
range, but of several distinct masses connected together by secondary ridges. The 
Shah-Kuh (" King's Mount "), the of these masses to the east, is one of the 
highest of the system. Its rugged crest, contrasting with the rounded or Hat 
summits of the other Elburz mountains, rises immediately to the west of the grassy 
heights separating the plains of Astrabad from those of Shah-rud. It is traversed 
by one of the must frequented historic routes between Iran and Turan, which 
eriisses the Ohalchanlyan Pass at an elevation iif 8,700 feet, almve which the highest 
peaks attain an absolute altitude of 13,500 feet. The northern cavities remain 
throughout the year rilled with masses of snow, and the village of Shahkuh-Bala, 
Lying probably at an elevation of 8,000 feet, is supposed to be the highest group of 
habitations in Persia. Deposits of coal and salt are found in the limestone and 
sandstone rocks of the Shah-Kuh and neighbouring hills. 

More frequented than the Chalchanlyan is the Shamsherbur or "Sword-hewn" 
Pass, which skirts the west side of the Shah-Kuh, thereby shortening by one day 
the journey from Teheran to the province of Astrabad. It takes its name from 
tin popular belief that it was hewn out of the mountain by the sword of Ali ; and 
few other passes look more like the work of man. At the culminating-point it is 
flanked lor a space of 450 feet by two pillar-shaped rocks, whose polished walls, 
standing about 20 feet apart and from 20 to 30 feet high, are completely detached 
from the side of the mountain. Although Napier may be wrong in identifying it 
with the "Caspian Gates" of the Greek writers, this natural gallery i- certainly 
one of the oldest routes of Media, and the saered character of the whole district is 
attested by various still-remembered loeal legends. .Near the village of Astana, at 
the junction of several mutes south-west of the pass, a rock bearing the impress of 
a human foot was formerly attributed to the gods, but is now regarded by devout 
Shiahs as a mark of Ali's presence. The spot, however, is carefully guarded from 
the prying eyes of sceptics, more numerous in Persia than elsewhere in the 
Mohammedan world. In the \ Icinity is the Cheshmeh-i-Ali. or " Fountain of Ali," 
probably the most copious spring in the whole of Persia, with a flow, according to 
.Napier, of about 7 '■"> cubic feet per second. Round about Astana this perennial 
stream has created a smiling oasis in the midst of the desolate yellowish rocky 
scenery so characteristic of the southern slopes of the Elburz highlands. To it- 
waters are attributed mysterious virtues, which, while purifying the soul, act also 
efficaciously especially in the treatment of cutaneous affections. 

Beyond the Shamsherbur Pass, the main range is regularly continued under the 
special names of Hazarjar and Savad-Kuh towards the south-west, everywhere 
presenting to the Caspian steep richly-wooded slopes, but falling down to the 



;.•- .- ,-,.)-. h S 



tableland through a series of rocky or grassy terraces, destitute of timber, excepf in 
a few depressions watered by perennial springs. The Tilar or Talar, the most 
copious river in this part of Mazandcran, receives its first affluents not from the 
northern but from the southern slopes, rising on the Khing plateau at an altitude 
of 9,500 feet, and after collecting a large number of head-streams, forcing its way 
through a gorge in the Elburz range northwards to the Caspian. This defile is 
flanked on the east side by the Nezwar, a lofty peak rising to a height of 13,200 
feet, and almost completely surrounded by affluents of the Talar. The approach to 
the pass near the village of Firuz-Kuh was formerly defended by some forts now 
in ruins, and attributed, like so many other structures in the East, to the Macedonian 

Fig. 29. — Mountains and Passes of Astrabad. 
Scale 1 : 1,600,000. 


L » OT ureenvyicri 

to 16 Feet. 

16 to 32 Feet. 

32 Feet and upwards. 
80 Miles. 

conqueror. This section of the Elburz is separated from the arid plains of the 
interior by the Samnun, a parallel but far less elevated range, consisting to a 
large extent of conglomerates and rolled detritus. From this range a spur now 
known as the Sirdara chain projects far into the plain across the main highway, 
and is surmounted by a pass probably identical with the " Caspian Gates" of the 
ancients. The ruins of numerous fortifications attest the great importance at all 
times attached to this defile, which avoids a long round through the saline wastes 
of the south or over the rugged northern highlands. 

The Demavend volcano, eulminating-point of the Elburz, above which it towers 
to an absolute height of over 18,000 feet, does not belong geologically to the 
same orographic system. It consists exclusively of eruptive rocks and ashes, 


whereas all the surrounding hills are sedimentary formations, whose limestone and 
Bandstone strata have not been at all disturbed by the appearance of the higher 
cone. Past of the volcano, however, an enormous erevasse serves roughly to 
indicate the line of separation between the igneous matter ejected from the crater 
and the sedimentary layers, which at several points crop out above the volcanic 
scoriae and lavas. The central cone is inclined a little towards the west, as if its 
eastern base had been tilted up, while the peak is encircled by the semicircular 

remains of an older crater, like another Soinnia attached to a higher Vesu\ ins. The 
altitude of this giant of the Elburz and loftiest cone in Persia has been diversely 
estimated by Kotshy, the first who after Aucher Ploy reached the crater, at from 
1:5,000 to 1">,.j00 feet, by Thomson, Lenini, and others at upwards of 'JO, 000, and 
lastly at 18,700 feet by [vashintzov, who took accurate trigonometrical surveys of 
the mountain. It is visible even by moonlight from Teheran, and from the fool of 
the Kashan hills beyond the desert. Although there appeal' to have been no 
eruptions during the historic period, columns of smoke frequently ascend from the 
fissures, and especially from the l)ud-i-Kuh, or "Smoky Peak " on the south side. 
The copious thermal springs which well up round about the cone appear to be 
formed by the melting snows oozing out through the surrounding igneous deposits, 
and emitting sulphurous odours injurious to vegetation, but credited by the natives 
with healing properties. Copious ferruginous and other mineral waters also flow 
from the slope of Demavend, which seems to have been still active when the old 
lakes of the Iranian plateau had already been tilled with alluvia. 

According to the local Legends, Demavend, or Divband, that is, "Dwelling of 
the Divs or Genii," has been the scene of all the events veiled under the form of 
myths. Here, say the Persian Mohammedans. Noah's ark was stranded; hero 
dwelt .lemshid and liustem, heroes of the national epics ; here was kindled the bon- 
fire of Feridun, vanquisher of the giant Zohak ; here the monster himself is 
entombed, and the smoke of the mountain is the breath of his nostrils; here also 
is chained down the Persian Prometheus, Yasid ben Jigad, whose liver is eternally 
devoured by a gigantic bird. The caverns of the volcanoes are full of treasures 
guarded by snakes, which, however, do not prevent the natives from utilising the 
sulphur deposited in the crater and Burrounding cavities. Many engaged in this 
industry perish in the sudden storms, which raise dense clouds of snow and ashes 
mingled with suffocating sulphurous exhalations. From the crater, which is 
filled with ice, the eye in clear weather sweeps over a vast horizon 50,000 miles in 
extent, embracing the blue waters of the Caspian, the surrounding highlands, and 
the Iranian tableland studded with the dim outlines of towns and green oases. 

North-wot of Demavend the Elburz takes a north-westerly trend parallel with 
the Caspian, but gradually drawing nearer to the coast. Here the Tochal rises to 
an absolute height of 1:5,000 feet above the plain of Teheran, while several passes 
stand at an elevation of over 8,000 feet. < >ne of the peaks north-west of Teheran, 
although not the highest, is specially designated by the name of Elburz, and 
another, forming the culminating-point of the north Persian Alps, is one of those 
"thrones of Solomon " (Takht-i-Sulaiman) which are found in every Moham- 


raedan land. It seems to attain an altitude of over 14,600 feet, and still sparkles 










in the July sun with the glint of its winter snows. But there are no traces of old 


or recent glaciers, aor is there apparently any evidence "f a glacial period in 

Persia, which nevertheless retains so many indications of a remote epoch of snows 
and aliimdant rains. A little to the south-east of the Takht-i-Sulaiman stands the 
frowning Alamut, or " Eagle's Eyrie," chief stronghold of the '-old .Man of the 
Mountain," the theocratic king of the " Assassins," that is, of fanatics maddened 
by " hashish." Alter a Long siege this place was captured by the Mongols in 
1270, ami with it fell (he hundred other castles of the sect. But the religion of these 
so-called [smaili still survives, and the direct descendant of the "Old Man of the 
Mountain" is a peaceful citizen of Bombay, depending for his support on the 
voluntary contributions of his followers. 

Beyond the Takht-i-Sulaiman the main range is continued at a lower elevation 
by the grassy Saman hills, which are pierced by the copious Setid-rud, or " White 
River," flowing from the Kurdistan highlands to the Caspian. West of the Ileri- 
rud, this is the only stream that makes its way through the northern scarp of the 
plateau — a geographical phenomenon no less remarkable than that id' the local 
climate. All travellers speak of the terrible northern wind which in summer 
penetrates from the Caspian through the Setid-rud gorge to the tableland, continu- 
ally increasing in violence until it acquires the force of a hurricane at the 
entrance of the gorge, where the river is crossed by the Menjhil bridge. Such is 
its intensity at this point, thai the very animals refuse to cross the bridge for fear 
of being swept into the torrent beneath. The gale itself admits of a very obvious 
explanation. During the hot summer days the valleys sheltered from the north 
wind by the Elburz range become intensely hot, their rarefied atmosphere thus 
attracting the denser Caspian currents, which rush up the Sefid-Koh defile to the 
plateau. In winter, on the contrary, the colder winds of the uplands are drawn 
through the same opening down to the lower temperature of the Caspian. 

The Elburz orographic system is usually supposed to terminate at the Sefid- 
Koh, beyond which the highlands sweeping round the Hay id' Enzeli to the Russo- 
Persian frontier form a continuation of the Talish uplands, whose first eminences 
rise above the Mugan steppe in Trans-Caucasia. Here the crests of the hills 
approach to within 12 miles of the coast, and at many points they present the 
aspect of steep escarpments above the Caspian waters. Nevertheless the Ader- 
beijan plateau may be reached through several openings, and the chain is crossed 
at an elevation of < >,<>00 feet by two roads running respectively from the Russian 
station of Astara, and the small seaport of Kerganrud. Between these two sides of 
the Talish range the contrast is very abrupt ; on the one hand steep declivities 
clothed with forest trees down to the water's edge, on the other the gently 
undulating slope of a plateau almost destitute of vegetation. 

Tin-. Caspian Si lboard vm> North- Western Uplands. 

The narrow strip of coast-lands between the hills and the Caspian forming the 
two prov inces of Ghilan and Ma/anderan differs so much in appearance, soil, climate. 
and products from the rest of Persia that it should be considered rather as a 


geographical dependence of Caucasia than a portion of Iran, to which it is 
politically attached. So great is the contrast between the southern plateau and 
the fertile valleys north of the Elburz Mountains, that in this sharp opposition 
many writers have sought one of the chief sources of the dualism lying at the root 
of the old Persian religion. But if in the abundance of its running waters, its 
vigorous and.gorgeous vegetation and productive soil, Mazanderan represents an 
earthly Eden compared with the dreary southern wastes, it is also constituted a 
land of evil by the wild beasts infesting its forests, the clouds of mosquitoes 
darkening the heavens, and especially the pestilential atmosphere of its marshy 
tracts. Hence this lovely region was in the popular fancy the home of baneful 
spirits ; and " If you wish to die," says a local proverb, " go to Ghilan." Mazan- 
deran also came to be regarded as a maleficent land in contrast with the 
encircling uplands, because these were the abode of the "heroes" and mythical 
conquerors of Persian poetry, whereas the unprotected coastlands were occupied by 
tributary and enslaved populations. A low-lying strip of territory stretching some 
350 miles round the shores of the Caspian, with a mean breadth of scarcely 10 or 
12 miles, was necessarily at the mercy of the surrounding highlanders, who swept 
down suddenly from the hills and easily carried off the accumulating wealth of the 
rich trading-places lying at their feet. 

For its exuberant vegetation Mazanderan is mainly indebted to the moisture- 
bearing northern winds blowing inland from the Caspian. According to the 
approximate estimates of recent observers, the rainfall on the northern slopes of 
the Elburz is about five times heavier than on those facing southwards. The 
vapour-charged clouds rising from the sea are generally arrested by the crests of 
the encircling ranges, and the water here discharged returns in numerous torrents 
and streams to the Caspian. Owing to this unequal distribution of the rainfall, the 
most marked contrast is presented by the northern and southern declivities of the 
Persian Alps. The latter rise in regular terraces above the plateau, while the 
former are everywhere furrowed by deep gorges, whose detritus has been distri- 
buted in the form of alluvia and gravel over the intervening narrow belt of 
low-lying coastlands. Every advanced spur is continued seawards by parallel lines 
of headlands, each marking the entrance of some river valley, with its side 
branches and a complete network of torrents, streams, and irrigating canals. 
Hence, although lying north of the thirty-sixth parallel, the Mazanderan seaboard 
is characterised by a semi-tropical vegetation, fully as rich as that of Southern 
Europe. The steppes and deserts stretching north of the Caspian are succeeded 
southwards by a rich Italian landscape, where flourish the almond, fig, pomegranate, 
orange, and citron. The hills are clothed with box and cypress groves, while the 
higher grounds are covered to an altitude of over (JJHKI feet with forests of beech, 
ash, oak, and other European trees. The low-lying cultivated tracts are also 
extremely fertile, and in the language of Straho, "The grain here falling from the 
ear suffices to raise a fresh crop, the trees serve a- hives lor the bees, and distil 
honey from their leaves." 

Mazanderan thus continues to be the garden of Persia, supplying the neigh- 


homing capital with rice, wheat, fruits, raw silk, with Fuel from its forests, and fish 
from the < laspian. Hence the jealous can' with which the Persian sovereigns have 
guarded this rich province from the raid- of the Turkoman marauders holding the 
Atrek and Gurgen valleys south-east of the Caspian. Easily defended on its 
western flank, where the spurs of the mountains advance (dose to the sea, the 
Ma/anderan plain broadens out on the opposite side towards the valley of the 
Gurgen, thai is, the ■■ Wolf River," which gave its name to the Ilyrcania of the 
ancients.* Hence this approach had to he protected hy towers and ramparts 
running from the foot of the hills to the coast. It was this barrier thai arrested 
the advance of the mythical Yajuj and Majuj tribes, that is, the "(jog and 
Magog " of the mediaeval Arab writers. Bui in historic times it has more than 
once Keen hrokeii through, and the present population of Mazanderan includes a 
laree number of agriculturists descended from Turkoman nomads. 

Although within 20 miles of the shore the Caspian reveals depths id' -'500 to 
100 fathoms, the Bfazanderan coast is completely destitute of good harbours. The 
alluvia washed down by the mountain torrents is distributed along the seaboard, 
which here almost everywhere develops straight lines or slight curves. The only 
important seaward projection is formed by the deposits of the Sefid-rud, which 
advance at least 1 ■') miles beyond the. normal coast-line. Thus is formed the 
extensive inlet which receives the western branch of the delta, and which is 
known as the Murd-ab, or "Dead Water." Although 160 square miles in extent, 
it is so shallow that it is navigable only in a few narrow channels, while the bar at 
I'.n/eli is inaccessible to vessels drawing more than 2 feet. The swampy reed- 
grown tracts Btretching far beyond the limits of the lagoon give their name to the 
province of Ghilan, that is, " the Marshes." Owing to the annual floodings of the 
Sefid-rud, it- banks have been considerably raised, and according to a local tradi- 
tion the town of Langherud, now Lying some miles inland, was still a seaport on 
the Caspian so recently as the middle of the last century. Anchors are even said 
to have been dug up in the neighbourhood. 

Corresponding with the Murd-ab in the west is Astrabad Hay at the south-east 
corner of the Caspian, which, however, is much deeper, and accessible in fine 
weather through several channels to vessels drawing from 12 to 14 feet. It 
i- separated from the open sea by a tongue of land, which gradually narrows east- 
wards, where it terminates in three islets, of which the largest, Ashuradeh, has 
been chosen by the Russians as a naval station. Nearly the whole of the 
-m rounding coast is covered with thickets well stocked with game. Astrabad Bay 
presents on the whole the appearance rather of a flooded district than of a natural 
inlet of the -ea, a view that is confirmed by analogous eases of submersion at several 
points along the Caspian seaboard, and especially at liaku and Gumish-tepe, close 
to Ashuradeh. On the other hand evidenl traces of upheaval, or at Least of a former 
higher level, can be detected along the coast, dating, perhaps, from the time when 

• Tli and ij'inj I wolf m identical in old Aryan, and are explained by the Latin gurges. 

Fur tin- interchange of h and g compare Latin homo with Gothic auma = man, ;is in the English bridegroom. — 

. OR. 



the Caspian was still connected with the Euxinc. High above the present sea level 
the old beach is fringed in some places by the stems of trees half buried in the 
soil, all belonging to the same species still nourishing on the neighbouring 
uplands. The fossil shells are also identical with those now inhabiting the 
surrounding waters, although no trace can be discovered of the cardiaceae at present 
so common in the Caspian. 

West of the Talish hills stands the almost isolated Savalan volcano, whose 
highest cone, attaining an elevation of over 14,000 feet, is almost constantly 
covered with snow. Although abundant hot springs well up at its base, no trace 
of a crater has been discovered, nor does it appear to have been the scene of igneous 
disturbances during historic times. It is completely detached from the surrounding 

Fig. 31.— Sat alan. 
Scale 1 : 180,000. 


15 Miles 

mountains on all sides except the west, where it is connected by a chain of hills 
with the Kara-dagh ("Black Mountains"), whose crests develop a semicircle 
south of the gorges of the Aras River, and terminate in Armenia at Ararat. The 
Kara-dagh thus forms the north-west border-range of the Iranian plateau. But it 
cannot be regarded as a natural limit, for the North Persian, South Trans-( 'aueasian, 
and Turkish Armenian highlands constitute collectively a single orographic 
system, connecting the Iranian with the Anatolian ranges. This is the upland 
region to which Carl Hitter has applied the general designation of " Medic 
Isthmus,'" a region of rugged plateaux, whose Lowest depression, flooded by Lake 
Urmiali, still maintains an elevation of 4,400 feet above sea level. 

In north-west Persia the culminating-point is Mount Sehend (11,800 feet), 


which at its base has a circumference of 90 miles, and which plunges its mots deep 
into the basin of Lake Urmiah. < lonsisting chiefly of trachytes, limestones, sehists, 
aandfitones, and conglomerates, Sehend abounds with mineral waters of all kinds, 
hot and cold, acidulated, ferruginous, sulphurous, while the saline streams flowing 

from the west -lope to Lake Urmiah tend to increase the quantity of salt contained 
in the waters of that basin. A deep cavern in the mountain emits carbonic acid in 
such abundance that animals penetrating into this fissure perish inevitably. The 
entrance is encumbered with heaps of bones, and according to the local tradition it 
takes the name of [skanderiah, or " Alexander's Grotto," because the Macedonian 
conqueror concealed his treasures in its poisonous atmosphere. < m the east side 
the rocks contain rich copper and argentiferous Lead ores. 

South of Savalan the triangular region comprised between Elburz and the west 
Persian border-chains is occupied by various mountain masses and ridges forming 
a transition between the two orographic Bystems. Of these the most imposing is 
the famous Kaflan-Kuh, at once a climatic and historical frontier, which runs 
marly parallel with the Elburz, joining it at its south-east extremity, while on the 
other three sides completely limited by the long bend described by the Kizil-Uzen 
before effecting a junction with the Shah-rud above the Menjhil Gorge. North of 
this parting-line the climate is moist and the grassy steppe well watered by 
perennial streams; south of it the air is much drier, the land more arid. On one 
side the population is chiefly of Turki, on the other of Iranian, stock. Hence, not- 
withstanding its modi-rate elevation compared with the Elburz, Kurdish, and 
Armenian highlands, the Kaflan-Kuh is regarded as forming pari of the continental 
diaphragm, and in any case it really belongs to the orographic system which forms 
the water-parting between the Caspian and the Persian desert. It consists of marls 
partly disturbed, and even changed to a sort of porcelain, l>y volcanic eruptions of 
porphyry. The lofty Khamseh ridge, which stretches southwards between the 
Elburz and the Shah-rud valley, abounds in minerals, and one of the spurs crossed 
by the road from Sultanieh to Kas\in forms a solid mass of ferruginous ores with a 
very high percentage of metal. 

The Kurdistan mountains, some of whose peaks are nearly as high as the 
Sehend, are connected with the Tendurek cone over against Ararat, and like it are 
partly of volcanic origin. Tn this upland district a crater has been opened whence 
the lavas have flowed in a broad stream over the sands and gravels of the valley of 
the Selmas, a north- weal affluent of Lake Urmiah. Here the river flows at some 
points between basaltic cliffs over 300 feel high. The upper crests seem, like the 
Sehend, to consist mostly of trachitic porphyries. All these west Persian highlands 
run with surprising uniformity aorth-wesi and south-east, with a somewhat more 
southerly trend than the Great Caucasus and North Khorassan ranges. .Most of the 
chains consist of tertiary limestones and chalks, whereas the spurs advancing 
towards the Tigris arc mainly more recent nummulitic and sandstone formations. 
The Wes1 Persian frontier highlands are sometimes collectively known as the 
Zagros Mountains, although this Greek appellation applies properly only to the 
range skirting the Mesopotamia!) plains and separated by the Kerkha river-valley 









from the more easterly Luristan and Ehuzistan systems. They are fiasored at 

intervals by broad tengs, or gorges, occurring not in the lower chalk and numinu- 
litic ranges, but in the more elevated sections, so that they are evidently due rather 
to fractures in the crust of the earth than to slow erosive action. From the large 
number of these defiles, through which the routes ascend in a succession of terraces 

Fig. 32. — Khczistan Border Bangs. 
Scale 1 : 1,600,000. 



>^x "V 






12 Miles. 

from the Mesopotamian plains to the Iranian plateau, the whole region takes the 
name of Tengsir, or " Land of Gorges." 

The Western Highlands and Great Deserts. 

The general elevation of the West Persian highlands, as determined by the 
English surveyors appointed to lay down the Turko-Persian frontier-line, was 
found to be greater than had hitherto been supposed. Amongst the most 
conspicuous peaks is the famous Klvend, the Revand of Iranian mythology, a mass 
of quartz and granite rising to a heighl of 11,000 feet south of Hamadan. which 
city itself stands some 6,000 feet above sea level. El vend is covered with snow for 
eight months in the year. Mount Alijuk also, south of Ispahan, is said to have an 

02 SOUTII-\Vi:sTKl;\ ASI \ 

elevation of 14,000 foot, but all theae highlands appear to culminate in the Kuh- 
Dinar, which runs north of Shiraz parallel with the Persian Gulf, and which from 
the sea near Bushir is risible for a distance of over 120 miles, towering above the 
intervening ranges, themselves exceeding 9,000 or 10,000 loot. According to 
Saint John some of its peaks arc at least 3,000 feel higher than had boon supposed, 
and the Kuh-i-Dena, the colossus of these highlands, is believed considerably to 
exceed 17,000 Eeet, being thus second to Demavend alone in the whole of Either 
Asia west of the Eindu-Kush. But some of the lower ranees of the Tensrsir 
region are even of more difficult access than the giants of the plateau. At certain 
points they present vertical walls 1,000 or 1,600 feet high, thus forming the so- 
called rfi'z, or natural strongholds, which can be reduced only by hunger. 
Ye/dijerd, the last of Persia's native sum reigns, hold out for some time in one of 
those rooky citadels against the Arabs. 

The violent disturbances by which the northern ranges were deflected parallel 
with the Persian Gulf, and with its former northern extension now filled by the 
alluvia of the Tigris and Euphrates, have also given to the Laristan system a 
direction mainly parallel with the Strait of Orinuz. Hero the Jebel-Hukun, north- 
east of Bandar Abbas, attains an altitude of 10,700 feet. But while the coast 
ranges generally run oast and west, the neighbouring island of Kishm is disposed 
in the direction from south-west to north-east. The other islands on the east side 
of the Persian Gulf are more Fragments of coast ranges partly submerged, and 
following the normal direction of the Persian orographic system from north-west to 

For a distance of 1,100 miles from the banks of the Kizil-Uzen in Azerbeijan 
to the Bampushi uplands in Baluchistan, this direction is mainly followed by a 
chain of mountains, which in some places assume quite an Alpine character. The 
Garghish and Darbish, south-west and south-east of Kashan, are both over 11,500 
feet high; while the snowy Shir-Kuh, south of Yezd, exceeds this elevation by 
nearly 2,000 loot. According to Saint-John, various summits in the Jamal-Baris, 
or "Cold Mountains," as well as the basalt Kuh-i-Hazar, south and south-west of 
Kirman, all rise to heights of 13,500 foot and upwards, while the Kuh-i-Bergon the 
Baluch frontier still maintains an altitude of 8,000 feet. In this little-known 
south-east corner of Persia names such as Sotid-Kuh (" White Mountains "\ Sarhad 
("Cold Betrion "), Kuhistan ("The Highlands"), all imply the presence of 
ranges of considerable elevation. Bore also the volcanic cones of Nau-hadur and 
liasman, besides some other le-s elevated volcanoes in Xarmashir, stand close to the 
edge of a former marine basin now tilled with the sands of the desert. And it is 
noteworthy that the prolongation of the main Iranian axis through the Sehend 
would terminate in the extreme north-west in the corresponding igneous mass of 
Ararat. Along the south coast, both in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, traces 
of oscillation have been discovered which are also probably associated with Plutonic 
phenomena. In Persian and Baluch Mekran numerous eminences occur which 
are found to be the craters of now extinct mud volcanoes. 

The small isolated groups rising in the midst of the sands and clays of the 


desert on the plateau also follow the general direction of the Persian mountain 
system, although the trap and trachitic Siah-Kuh ("Black Mountain "\ some 90 
miles from Teheran, runs exceptionally rather east and west. Like Elburz, 
although to a less extent, the Siah-Kuh, which scarcely exceeds 5,000 feet, 
presents a remarkable contrast between its northern and southern declivities. The 
latter are bare and parched, while the former are overgrown with brushwood, 
which in the eyes of the surrounding nomads seem like magnificent forests. 

The vast triangular region enclosed by the border ranges is little more than a 
sand's - , argillaceous, stony, or saline desert studded here and there with a few oases. 
" In order to form a correct idea of the more populous parts of Khorassan, we should 
fancy," remarks MacGregor, " a small green circle round every village indicated on 
the map, and shade all the rest in brown." These waste spaces, encircled on all 
sides by mountains, were certainly a marine basin at the time when the volcanoes 
rising above the northern edge of the plain were still active. The regular strata 
observed by Filippi on the banks of the Ahvar south-east of Sultanieh show that 
the basin was not completely filled in till comparatively recent times. Here the 
layers of sand, pebbles, and clay clothed with vegetable humus rest on heaps of 
debris containing potter}', incised bones, fragments of charcoal, and other remains 
of human industry. These deposits may be traced for a distance of over 40 miles, 
a sufficient proof that there can here be no question of recent disturbance and 
redistribution of the soil. Hence the present surface of this Iranian depression 
has been formed since the surrounding slopes were inhabited by man, whose 
pottery has been swept by the running waters down to the plain. These remains, 
carried down probably during a cold epoch, corresponding to the Alpine glacial 
period, contributed to completely fill up the Persian Mediterranean. Throughout 
the whole of the Iranian plateau, as well as in Afghanistan and Baluchistan, vast 
quantities of sand and argillaceous dust have been gradually accumulated by the 
weathering of the surrounding uplands, combined with the action of rain and 
running waters distributing the detritus over large spaces and filling up all the 
depressions on the plains. But although resembling in appearance the " yellow 
earth " of China, this detritus is now unsuitable for cultivation owing to the 
absence of irrigating streams. The inland sea itself could never have been dried 
up but for the excessive evaporation. With a more copious rainfall it might 
have been permanently maintained, while slowly raising its bed by the sedimen- 
tary deposits from the encircling hills, through which it must have ultimately 
found some outlet seawards. 

In the south-eastern deserts the prevailing element is sand, disposed by the 
winds in ever-shifting dunes, by which caravan routes are effaced, arable tracts 
continually encroached upon, the very villages and towns themselves threatened 
with destruction. Some places have even already been invaded, and their inhabi- 
tants compelled to migrate to new homes. Elsewhere the sands themselves have 
been swept away, leaving nothing but the hard rocky surface, or perhaps extensive 
gravel tracts, like the beds of dried-up torrents. Thus within a Bingle day the 
caravans will often traverse districts of very different aspect — strips of clay and 


sand alternating with gravel and stony wastes. A wilderness to the north-west of 
si-tan has been well named the Dash-i-Na-ummed, or " Plain of Despond," and 
easl of it, mi the Afghan frontier, Btanda the Famous Reig Hawaii, an isolated 
bluff, DOted for the music of the surrounding sands, which at times is heard a 

mile off. 

Bui the must formidable desert in Persia is the Lul or Loth, as it is railed by 
the people of Khorassan, a name associated by some with the Lot of Eoly Writ, 

but by others more correctly explained to mean any wilderness or waterless tract. 
The ground of this dreary waste is almost everywhere formed by a compact layer 
of coarse sand bound together with salt, and covered with a lighter sand, which [s 
blown about by every wind. Lying between the Kirinan and South Khorassan 
highlands, the Lut is completely uninhabited, and possesses so few wells that 
caravans in its narrowest part have to provide themselves with sufficient water to 
last three days and lour nights, The Gobi and Kizil-Kum themselves are 
fertile regions compared with this " Persian Sahara," which in the tenth century 
Istakhri already described as the most dismal solitude in all the lands subject to 
Islam. Seen from some of the surrounding heights it presents the appearance of 
a pah' red mass of incandescent metal stretching away beyond the hori/ou, 
the fierce glare of its cloudless skies nowhere relieved by a flitting shadow from 
dawn to sunset. Yet it is at Least in one respect somewhat less desolating than 
many of the Turkestan steppes. The outline of its horizon nowhere presents 
the form of a perfect circle, the monotonous prospect being here and there broken 
by bluish or violet hills, floating like light clouds in the liquid atmosphere, and 
serving as landmarks to the wayfarer. 

The deeper parts of the Persian basins are generally occupied by saline marshes, 
known in the north as kevirs, in the south as kefihs or hufulis. Of these the 
most extensive is that stretching across the sandy desert, north of the Tebbes 
Mountains. Another, extending from the Kuh-i-Siah range towards Kashan, is 
said to have a circumference of 15 miles, while its real size is perhaps doubled K\ 
the mirage. Other large kevirs, the remains of dried-up lakes, are scattered over 
the valleys of Kirman, which, like the mountain ranges, have a normal direction 
from north-west to south-cast. Most of these basins present a very irregular 
surface, being broken at various points by small hollows, presenting considerable 
difficulty to camel traffic. But round the edge of the true kevirs quagmires are 
of rare occurrence. In winter the moist earth is black and uneven, as if turned 
up by the plough, but in summer it is covered with a saline film, beneath which 
the treacherous soil remains soft and swampy for a long time. At its lowest point 
the kevir north of Yezd stands probably at a height of 2,000 feet above sea level; 
but towards the south-east it falls gradually lower and lower, sinking at Dihi-Seif, 
north-east of Kirman, to 1,250 feet, and at its lowest point, according to Khanikov, 
its absolute elevation scarcely exceeds 400 or 500 feet. 



Hydrography and Climate of Persia. 

It is difficult to form even an approximate estimate of the seaward drainage to 
the Caspian, Persian Gulf, and Arabian Sea compared with the extent of these 
inland basins. The respective. areas have even been modified during past geolo- 
gical epochs. Eivers formerly copious enough to reach the coast are now lost in 
some inland swamp, while a number of now landlocked lakes at one time dis- 
charged their overflow to the surrounding marine basins. Similar changes are 
.still going on from season to season, and most of the streams reaching the sea 
during the floods are absorbed in the sands at low water. But even including 
these intermittent tributaries in the outward drainage system, its whole area cannot 
be estimated at more than one-third, leaving to that of the closed basins about two- 
thirds of the West Iranian plateau.* 

The short streams flowing from the Elburz range to the Caspian can alone 
compare in size with those of Western Europe. The Atrek and Gurgen reach the 
coast through a sluggish and shallow current, while the Sefid-rud, although more 
copious, i- quite unsuited for navigation. The Jerrahi, Hindiyan (Zohreh), 
Shems-i-Arab, and other affluents of the Persian Gulf are mere wadies fordable 
throughout the year, and in summer separated by a strip of sand from the sea. 
Nevertheless Persia possesses one really navigable river in the Karun or Kuran, 
which is formed by the united torrents of Northern Susiana and Southern Luristan. 
Little, however, of this stream goes directly to the Persian Gulf, from which it La 
mainly diverted by an artificial canal to the Shat-el-Arab. It has thus become a 
mere tributary of the great Mesopotamian artery, like the Diyala and Kerkha, 
which join the Tigris higher up. Still the Karun should be the natural highway 
for merchandise forwarded by the Persian Gulf to the plateau, for it is nearly four 
feet deep throughout the year, and accessible to steamers for a distance of 150 
miles from its mouth. The only obstacle to its navigation is a ledge of rocks near 
the old fortress of Ahwaz, where the valley is contracted by fantastic sandstone 
hills some 300 feet high, which at a distance look like structures raised by the 
hand of man. Here the river enters a gorge, in which it descends through a 
series of rapids between the projecting rocks all disposed parallel with the main 
axis of the Persian orographic system. Estcmut ascended the Karun to this point 
in a steamer in 1836, and six rears afterwards the obstacle was surmounted by 
Selby, who penetrated within a mile and a half of Shuster. Still greater facilities 
for navigation are afforded by the Ab-i-GargaT canal, which runs west of the main 
stream between Sinister and the confluence of the Dizful. For two months in the 
year the Dizful itself is accessible to small craft as far as the town of like name, 
so that a whole network of water highways might be developed in this region, 

* Persian ar> a- of drainage according to Sainl John: — Square Miles. 

To the Indian Ocean 130,000 

Caspian 100.000 

„ Hamun Basin 4H.000 

., Lake Urmiah J11.OOO 

Kivers and other depressions 320,000 


especially il' the Ahwaz rapids were avoided by constructing an already projected 
canal Less than two miles in length. According toM. Dieulafoy, Shuster might be 
reached by steamers ol 600 tons burden and 120 horse-power merely by restoring 
the dam and locks at Ahwaz. 

The Btreams flowing to the inland basins are relatively even far It--- copious 
than (hose draining seawards. This is evident from the state of the innumerable 
depressions on the plateau whose moisture is evaporated in the dry season, or else 
losl in the mud of the saline marshes. A watercourse descending from the Khuz 
Mountains to the south of the Lut. desert traverses the whole length of the 
solitudes, but within the memory of man it lias never been flooded. Even in rainy 
years the water never rises above the arable tracts, although its hed is deeply 
excavated by the long and constant action of an old current. 

At present the rainfall, everywhere very light except on the northern slopes ol 
the Kllmrz, scarcely exceeds a yearly average of 10 inches, [ailing in Central Persia 
and on the Baluch frontier to about 5 inches. This scarcity of moisture is due, as 
in the regions lying farther east, to the atmospheric currents, which are mainly 
continental. The two great marine basins of the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean 
lie respectively on the south-east and west, whereas the prevailing winds come 
either from the south-west across the African and Arabian sands, or else from the 
north-east across the Asiatic mainland from the polar regions to the Turkestan 
steppes. This last is the dreaded wind of "a hundred and twenty days," which 
blows, especially in Sistan, with such violence that the trees are unable to take root 
in the ground. To this breezy region has been attributed the invention of the 

The atmosphere of the plateau is thus extremely dry, the relative proportion of 
humidity ranging in the cultivated parts of Kirman from 16 to 20 per cent., and 
falling in the desert of Lut to 11 "J per cent., the lowest that has yet been recorded 
mi the surface of the globe. Even in West Persia the air is so dry in summer and 
autumn that metal objects exposed on the terraces at night retain their lustre 
for months together. To this deficiency of moisture must be attributed the 
extreme variation of temperature between day and night. In the month of July 
the glass has risen from 56 F. before sunrise to 133 in the sun at eight o'clock 
in the morning. At times the air becomes darkened by " dry fogs," during which 
neither dust nor dew is precipitated. Little dust whirlwinds are of daily occurrence. 
They spring up between nine and eleven o'clock in the morning, according to 
the heat of the sun, and gradually increase in number and volume till two o'clock 
in the afternoon. Sometimes also dense clouds of sand are formed, bounding 
the horizon like a solid wall. The summer heat [soften as intense as in the African 
Sahara, and near Meslied stores of stcarine and sulphate of soda have been liquefied, 
implying a temperature of 131° F. To the sultry region of the Lut desert, 
Khaiiikov attributes the southern deflection of the isothermal lines throughout 
Northern Persia; and to the same source of heat may perhaps be due the almost 
tropical character of the vegetation in Mazanderan compared with that of the other 
Caspian coast-lands. The pestilential dry wind, known as the badeli simun, which 


occasionally blows from the desert to the coast about Bandar-Abbas, Lb much 
dreaded by travellers, who report that its victims turn rapidly blue, and soon 

To supply the want of a sufficient rainfall, the peasantry have developed 
a system of underground kanats or kanots (irrigating canals), which, like those of 
Afghanistan, are excavated with unerring instinct and maintained with jealous 
care. But even with this resource, cultivation is scarcely possible beyond the 
upland valleys, for there are no summer rains, moisture falling as a rule only 
in winter and spring. Hence in summer no water can be had except in the Alpine 
regions, where the deep springs are fed by the melting snows. Lower down the 
soil is completely dried up by the twofold action of the solar heat and kanat 
drainage. Except in the higher valleys, how little this dreary, parched-up land 
corresponds with the ideal descriptions of the national poets, Hafiz and Sadi ! 
Long journeys must be made across the plateau and down to the intervening 
depressions before we meet with those spicy groves, rosy bowers, and purling 
brooks echoing with the song of the nightingale, which on the whole are rather 
the dream of the poet seeking in fancy what nature denied him. The famous 
Band-Emir, described in eastern and western poetry as a noble stream flowing 
beneath the cool shade of a rich vegetation, is merely a canal diverted by a dam 
from the little river which waters the plain of Persepolis. So precious is water 
in this arid region that an ordinary reservoir becomes a limpid lake encircled by 
picturesque cliffs and umbrageous slopes. 

The only lake really deserving the name is the Dariacha ("Little Sea "), better 
known as the Lake of Urmiah, Maragha, or Armenistan, at the west foot of the 
Sehend, in the extreme north-west, and already within the region of the Armenian 
uplands. Here a delightful and ever-varying prospect is presented by the islands 
and headlands and surrounding hills, plunging their roots deep into the water, by 
the wooded shores and distant view of snowy Ararat. Yet, compared with the 
Alpine lakes of Central Europe, Urmiah is a mere lagoon, nowhere exceeding 4-3 
feet, and with an average depth of probably not more than 15 or 16 feet. Hence, 
although covering an area of about 1,600 square miles, its volume is six or eight 
times inferior to that of Geneva, which is relatively so much smaller in size. Off 
the town of Urmiah the basin falls from the west to the east shore through a 
succession of five perfectly regular plateaux, while at other points the marshy banks 
stretch far inland through saline flats, scarcely rising a few inches above the 
surface. Towards the south is a group of about fifty islets, of which three are large 
enough to be cultivated or laid out in pastures. The water is more saline and 
richer in iodine than that of the Dead Sea itself. Swimmers cannot dive in it, and 
their bodies become immediately covered with a coating of salt, which sparkles in 
the sun like diamond-dust. "When the wind blows, large sheet- of saline foam are 
developed on the surface, and along the shore salt has been deposited in slabs 
several inches thick, and extending in some places for a distance of three or four 
miles. "Wherever the shore is easily accessible, the natives have established 
salines like those of the Mediterranean, although they prefer in general the 



mineral sail of the neighbouring hills, which is much purer and more easily 
worked. No fishes or molluscs live in the lake, which, however, teems with a 
particular species of small Crustacea, distinguished by a thin tail, and servingaafood 

to the Hocks of swans and other birds frequenting the lake. Here are also some 
species of insects not found elsewhere, and a special saline Hera developed on the 
surrounding mud renders the shore almost everywhere unapproachable. These 

Fig. 33. — Lakk Uiimiah. 
Scale 1 : 1,600,0(10. 

E.. ofGr 

30 Miles. 

blackish or dark-green tracts, sometimes shining with a metallic lustre, stretch 
a long way below the surface of the water, and contain magnesia and iron, beside 
a large proportion of organic remains. The oily residue of this decomposed matter 
imparts such consistency to the liquid surface that even under the action of high 
winds it fails to rise into rolling waves, hut breaks sluggishly against the beach. 

Near the Selmas valley, on the north-west side of the lake, and near the village 
of Uihkergau in the south-east, are the famous " marble springs," whose deposits 


have supplied materials for some of the finest buildings in Persia and Western 
Asia. This " marble of Tabriz " is generally of a yellowish, pink, or milk-white 
colour, and sparkles like quartz. It often forms concretions like stalactites, and 
its veins of oxides impart to it the most delicate tints. It was probably deposited 
at a time when the springs had a much higher temperature than the present, which 
scarcely exceeds 65° F. The precipitates now consist of very thin snow-white 
layers, in other respects exactly resembling the marble of the neighbourhood. 

The level of Lake Urniiah has frequently changed. According to the local 
tradition it was formerly much higher than at present, while on the other hand 
there was a time when it had shrunk to considerably lower dimensions. These 
oscillations are attributed by the natives to a prodigious monster who dwells at the 
bottom, and passes his time in alternately drinking and disgorging the waters of 
Urniiah. Its former higher level is in any case shown by the old water-marks on 
the rocks high up above the present surface, and by the headlands, such as that of 
Shah-i-Kuh towards the north-west in the direction of Tabriz, which at one time 
were islands in the middle of the lake. 

At present the lacustrine level is sinking, a circumstance explained by the 
spread of cultivation, which necessarily absorbs a larger quantity of water for 
irrigating purposes. The whole basin, as far as the sources of its farthest affluents, 
exceeds 20,000 square miles, and the rainfall within this area, even estimating it at 
no more than 10 inches yearly, represents a total mass of at least 350 million cubic 
feet, or about half of the whole volume collected in the lake itself. According to 
the extent of the outflow, as regulated by the requirements of the surrounding 
cultivated lands, the contours of the lake must change all the more rapidly that the 
water is spread in shallow masses over a wider area. The area of Lago Maggiore, 
notwithstanding its great depth, changes as much as 16 square miles between the 
dry and wet seasons. Some idea may thus be formed of the great alterations 
presented by the surface of Lake Urmiah, a large portion of which is little better 
than a flooded swamp. Such a basin evidently affords little scope for navigation, 
and the transport of merchandise and passengers is usually effected by means of 
rafts. In 1838 an uncle of the Shah had himself appointed grand admiral of the 
lake, and to secure a monopoly of its navigation forthwith caused all the craft 
belonging to private persons to be seized and destroyed. 

Of the numerous feeders of the lake the most important is the Jaghatu, which 
comes from the south, and one branch of which, the Saruk, receives a portion of its 
supplies from a large well on a limestone eminence known as the Takht-i-Sulaiman, 
or "Throne of Solomon." The hill itself, which is of oval shape and about 150 
feet high, has evidently been gradually formed by the water, which precipitates 
layers of travatine at the orifice. Other petrifications caused by the irrigating rills 
derived from the main stream have sprung up here and there round about the 
Throne of Solomon. One of these has the form of a dragon, and is traditionally 
supposed to have been a monster changed into stone by the son of David. Mineral 
and thermal springs, acidulated, sulphurous, and calcareous, bubble up on all sides 
round about these eminences. 



In Southern Persia the only body of water which maybe regarded ae a lake, 
it qoI Eor the depth at least for the extent of its flooded basin, is Lake Niris or 
Bakhtegan, which receives the discharge of the Band-Emir Canal. It stretches 
south-east of the ancienl Persepolis, between two ranges of parallel hills, for a 
distance of aboul 60 miles, broken into several secondary basins by islands and 
headlands, all ramifying in tortuous channels among the side valleys, and uniting 
through two straits in a second reservoir, the Tasht or Nargis Lying at the other 
Bide of the northern hills. The whole group is continued in the direction of 
IVrsepolis northwards to the plain of Merv. Its waters arc saline like those of the 
Deriah-i-Xemek, a smaller basin lying parallel to it in the valley of Shiraz, and 
blocks of silt, like the floesof the polar seas, maybe occasional!; seen floating on its 

Pig. 34. — Lakes Niria and Naeois. 

Scale 1 : 1,400,000. 



*>*jh - 

E.of GrSV 

30 Miles. 

surface towards the end of summer. The surrounding limestone hills mirrored in 
its blue water, the ruins crowning the cliffs along the shore, the tamarinds and 
willows of the riverain valleys, the Mocks of flamingoes and other aquatic birds 
giving animation to the scene, imparl a great charm to the landscape of Niris, 
which, however, is in reality nothing more than an ana of permanent inundation. 
For hundreds of yards from the shore it is scarcely more than 2 feet deep, and 
the mud when disturbed emits ; i suffocating odour. It is noteworthy that no 
mention is made by the old writers of this lake, which nevertheless lies in one of 
the most famous and commerical regions of the ancient world. It is first alluded 
to by Urn Haukal in the tenth century, and from that time forth it is spoken of 
bv all geographers. It is probable that formerly, when the district was covered 


with cities and land under cultivation, the water flowing from the mountain gorges 
was used up to the last drop, so that none was left to settle in lagoons on the now 
flooded plains. 

Flora and Fauna. 

As a land of transition between Eastern Asia and the western world, Persia 
naturally partakes of the flora and fauna belonging to the surrounding lands. 
Hence according to the altitude, dryness, and special climatic conditions of its 
various provinces, it exhibits the plants and animals characteristic of Turkestan, 
Caucasia, Afghanistan, or Arabia. Persia is thus everywhere a region of contrasts, 
where the forests of Ghilan and Mazanderan, with their leafy foliage, creeping 
plants, and flowery glades are suddenly succeeded by the saline plateaux producing 
nothing but a little grey brushwood. Even the fertile regions themselves offer the 
greatest differences in the aspect of their vegetation, for all these productive lands 
are exclusively highland countries, where the various vegetable zones overlap each 
other, or follow in quick succession, according to the relief and latitude. All the 
higher summits are like so many islands inhabited by polar species, while the 
great diversity of altitude strews the land with isolated floras, rendering any broad 
generalizations extremely hazardous. In the north wheat is cultivated to a height 
of 9,000 feet on the slopes of the hills, and the flats in the neighbourhood of Lake 
Urmiah are occupied by rice grounds at an elevation of over 4,000 feet above the 
sea. In this part of Azerbeijan the fig grows only in sheltered spots, whereas the 
vine flourishes on the slopes of Elvend up to 7,500 feet. On the other hand, the 
magnolia and camellia, which resist the damp climate of the British Isles, are not 
found in Persia under the corresponding latitudes. The palm is cultivated only in 
the lower valleys of the border ranges, and in the south-east of the plateau as far 
north as Tebbes. But it is again met on the shores of the Caspian, and, according 
to a local tradition, the Mazanderan coast-lands were within comparatively recent 
times overgrown with palms, which have since yielded to other vegetable species. 
Excluding the Caspian seaboard as belonging to a distinct vegetable region, the 
Persian flora is on the whole much poorer than that of Trans-Caucasia and West 
Europe, and the local saying that " In Fars you cannot take a single step without 
crushing a flower," must be regarded as a poetical exaggeration. 

So little does the Persian fauna differ from that of the conterminous lands, 
that it might almost be supposed to have migrated in modern times to the plateau. 
The real explanation lies doubtless in the more recent drying up of the land. 
From the frontier upland regions, which were first upheaved, the various species 
gradually spread towards the centre, according as the waters subsided. The West 
Iranian mountains, plateaux, and solitudes, like those of Afghanistan, have their 
herds of wild asses and gazelles, their leopards, wild boars, bears, wolves, and foxes. 
In the same way Iranian Baluchistan corresponds to that of Kelat, while the A\ est 
Persian frontier bason its outer slopes the fauna of Mesopotamia, that of Kurdistan 
in its valleys, and that of the plateaux on its rocky heights and in its kevirs. 
Lastly, the well-watered regions of the north-west, the Azerbeijan plains and 




especially the northern slopes of the Elburz, belong to the animal as well as to 
the vegetable zones of Armenia and Trans-Caucasia. The summits oi Isolated 
mountains, such as Sehend and Savalan, have not only a Caucasian flora, but also 
several animal species, notably various kinds of butterflies, which do nol elsewhere 
occur south ot the Aras. 

According to a local tradition, which may, perhaps, reel una foundation of truth, 
the Mazanderan forests were formerly peopled by elephants, which were exter- 

Fig. 85.— F.unas or 1'ehsia. 
Scale 1 : 18,000,000. 

Azei 1 1 




ii \\ li '1 Am i of the Persian Persian GuU md 

Area. Border Range. Mesopotamia. Baluch Area. 

, 300 Miles. 

minated by the national hero, Rustem. In its climate, flora and fauna, as well 
as in many popular customs, this low-lying valley resembles the Indus valley. 
The wild ox, hunted by the Assyrian kings in the Kurdistan highlands, has dis- 
appeared ; but the maneless lion, a less powerful animal than his African congener, 
has held his ground in the valleys of the border ranges between the Iranian plateau 
and the Tigris plains. He is also frequently met west of the Shiraz Mountains 
in the oak forests, where he preys on the wild boar. The tiger also infests the 


forests of Mazanderan. The chamois is very common on the highlands, where 

• --•■„* ' 

ill ^^ 

he ranges from an altitude of 1,500 feet on the Bushir hills to 13,000 feet on 
Elburz. The rat, said to have originated in Persia, has disappeared from the 


plateau, and is now found only on the Caspian seaboard, where it lias been 
reimported by the shipping. Altogether the Persian Fauna is poor in the number 
.it species, although the reptiles, especially lizards of quite an African type, 
are represented by a great many varieties. Owing to the intermittent character 
of the surface streams, tish are found chiefly in the underground canals, where 
they have adapted themselves to the dark .surroundings by the gradual loss of 
sight. Snails and other land molluscs arc nowhere to be found, doubtless owing to 
the general aridity of the land. 

Amongst domestic animals there is at least one fine breed of horses. In 
the towns bordering on Turkestan those of Arab origin have acquired a surprising 
resemblance to the English raeehorse, combined with unrivalled powers of endurance. 
The Kurd breed, smaller than that of Khorassan, is more elegant and not less 
fiery. In many parts of Fars it is customary to give the horses little pigs for 
companions, and the closest friendship springs up between these two animals. 
The eamels of Khorassan and Sistan are highly esteemed, the finer specimens 
carrying loads of 625 pounds weight, while the ordinary camel-load varies from 
125 to 190 pounds. The sheep, like those of the steppe regions, are of the 
fat-tailed species. Tn some districts they acquire an extraordinary development, 
ami yield a wool of the finest quality. Of dogs there is one very ugly species, 
noted, however, for his remarkable watchfulness and sagacity. The Persians have 
also a very handsome breed of greyhounds, swifter than the European varieties, 
and several species of falcons are still trained for the chase. 

IxiIAHIT V\ is o| I'kksia. 

Like the flora and fauna, peoples of different origin have become intermingled 
in the Iranian lands, some of whom still preserve their national characteristics, 
while others have blended in a new type. The chief ethnical elements are the 
Iranians, properly so called, the Turco-Tatars, the Kurds, and Arabs. 

The bulk of the population is concentrated in the southern region, between 
Kirman and Kermanshah, where one of the provinces even bears the name 
of Fars or Farsistan ; that is, " Land of the Farsi " or Persians. Hut for the 
whole race the collective name is [rani. Amongst the peoples of the earth the 
Persians are, on the whole, one of those that approach nearest to the type of beauty 
as understood by Europeans. Of symmetrical figure, graceful and pliant, with 
broad chest and noble carriage, they have, for the most part, regular oval features 
enframed in a setting of black curly hair. Put baldness is very common, caused 
doubtless by the habit of wearing high head-dresses of hair or wool. The eyes, 
mostly brown, except in Ears, are large, with perfectly round eyebrows, long 
curved lashes, slightly aquiline nose, well-shaped mouth, dense wavy and silky beard. 
The children, especially grouped together in the schoolroom, present a charming 
sight, with their black curly heads, large brown eyes, and animated expression. 

The form of the skull occupies an intermediate position between those of the 
Semites and Afghans. But if we take as typical Persians the Guebres of Yezd, 



five crania of whom have been studied by Baer, the Iranian head would appear 
to be distinguished by considerable brain capacity. "While very dolichocephalic, 
with index Xo. 70, it is lower than the Semitic but higher than the Turanian, and 
flattened on the upper surface. In the Darabgherd relief, which represents the 
triumph of Sapor over Valerian, in the year 260 of the new era, both Persians and 

Fig. 37. —Inhabitants of Persia. 
Scale 1 : 10.000.noo 

Sebze va r~^ 

^StirdT^n^O"-' «■ 


—^-— i , i 

"-=ri ' . ' . ' . ' i ' 

■ i i i i i . 

'i'i'iJ !,- 

LI I 111 

pamdour 1 

I II I '. 
I ll II 

I ' I I I ' I ■> 


&*si iLsa 


Ghilani. Tajik and Talish Afghans. Baluches. Ali Allahi. 

vJM mbil 

Kurds. Nestorians and Armenians. 

Turks and TurkmenianB 



12 Miles. 

Romans are figured bareheaded, and in the case of the former all these character- 
istics are plainly marked. Hands and feet are small and flexible, and although the 
average height scarcely exceeds 5 feet, the troops are capable of making long 
forced marches without apparent fatigue. Formerly tatooing was generally 
practised by the women, who embellished the chin, neck, chest, and stomach with 


Fig. ".s. .-Persian- Tyies and Costumes — Nohleman, Dervish, and Mendicant. 

various artistic designs. But the practice survives now chiefly amongst the 
peasantry of Kirman and Persian Baluchistan. In some districts the depraved 


taste of earth-eating still prevails, as does also the hahit of blood-letting at every 
new moon, whence the cadaverous look of the inhabitants, which has earned for 
certain localities the reputation of being insalubrious. 

The Persian type seems to have been best preserved in the eastern and central 
regions and upland valleys, which have been less exposed to invasion than the 
fertile western districts and oases. Thus the Kahrud highlanders between Kashan 
and Ispahan still betray the haughty expression of the contemporaries of Cyrus, 
and speak a dialect supposed to be closely related to the old Pehlvi. This language, 
which was current in Iran before the Arab conquest, appears to have held its 
ground in some other remote districts, while the race has been almost everywhere 
modified by mixture, especially with Chaldean, Kurd, Semite, and Turki elements. 
Under the successors of Alexander, and during the sway of the Arsacides, the 
people were exposed to Greek or Hellenised influences, and later on, under the Arab 
rule, Semitic blood penetrated to the lowest layers of the Iranian populations. For 
thousands of years pure or mixed Negroes, Abyssinians, and Somali have entered 
Persia either as slaves or traders, and certain districts of Susiana were perhaps at 
one time occupied by peoples of dark or negroid complexion and origin. The 
Turkomans and other Tatar tribes have also had a considerable share in the gradual 
modification of the old Iranian stock, which has been further improved by the 
thousands of Georgian and Circassian female slaves introduced during the three 
hundred years preceding the conquest of Georgia by the Russians at the beginning 
of the present century. On the other hand, the Persians themselves have spread 
far beyond the limits of their original home. Under the name of Tats and Talishes 
they are found to the number of about 1'20,000 in Trans-Caucasia, while they 
constitute the basis of the sedentary population in Khorassan, Afghanistan, and 
Trans-Oxiana, where they are variously known as Sarts, Tajiks, and Parsivans. 

The Persians are not only physically but also intellectually one of the foremost 
races of mankind. Their quick wit, shrewdness, poetic fancy, and excellent 
memory excite the admiration of Europeans, while to these very qualities must 
perhaps be attributed a certain lack of perseverance and application. Readily 
grasping a subject, they seem careless of prosecuting it further. Heirs of an 
ancient culture, and fully conscious of their intellectual superiority over the 
surrounding races, the modern Iranians unfortunately yield to them in prowess. 
Hence in the local wars and revolutions the initiative has constantly been taken by 
Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Turkomans, Afghans, or Baluches, and the state itself is 
ruled by a sovereign of foreign origin, successor of other conquering dynasties. 
Deprived of that freedom by which alone the national culture and vitality might 
be revived, the Iranians are fain to live in the past, sedulously cherishing the old 
traditions of urbanity and refinement, no less rigid observers of ceremony than the 
Chinese themselves. Even in remote rural villages the stranger is almost invari- 
ably welcomed with courtesy, and in no other country is " the art of rising and 
sitting down " more punctiliously observed. Trained to jealously watch over his 
own emotions and their muscular expression, the adult Persian presents a striking 
contrast to the children of his race, who are usually full of animation and buoyant 



Pie. 39. — N'oi'.le Persian Lady. 

spirits. Fond of speaking and giving free bridle to his natural eloquence, he still 
maintains an impassive air in mixed company, carefully discriminating the various 
social ranks, and assuming the suitable or conventional attitudes towards each 
without effort or affectation. In conversation lie aptly quotes the national proverbs 
and poets in support of his views, leading up, with great apparent ease, to the 
subject he wishes to broach, and unerringly adapting Ins language to his audience. 
This characteristic is expressed in the local saying, "Birds of a feather should 
mate together — dove with dove, liawk with hawk."' How dill'erent this modern 
Parsi, by long thraldom become an adept in duplicity, from the free Persian of 
antiquity, of whom Herodotus tells us that he held falsehood to be the greatest of 
infamies. Frankness would place the peasant entirely in the hands of his 

oppressors; hence from generation 
to generation he has learnt to avoid 
ruin by wile. Hence those who em- 
ploy their talents not only in self- 
defence but in pushing their way in 
the -world, often become dangerous 
by their tact and spirit of intrigue, 
ever at the service of cupidity. One 
of the ordinary national types is that 
of the fuzul, who shrinks from no 
baseness in order to "eat." These 
are the first to thrust themselves on 
Europeans as servants, stewards, 
couriers, or simple advisers, and to 
them is largely due the unfavourable 
judgment so often pronounced 
against the whole nation. At the 
same time, within the race itself 
there frequently occur the greatest 
contrasts, as between the brave and 
energetic Talish and the craven 
Kashani ; between the shrewd Shi- 
razi, whose eyes beam with intel- 
ligence, and the dull Mazanderani 
peasant, the yabu or " pack-horse," as he is called, of Irania. 

About the dawn of history the plateau was occupied in the south by Aryans, in 
the north by "Turanian" Medes of distind speech, but ruled by an Aryan caste. 
The country is still divided between two races, descended, with more or less 
intermixture, from the old stocks, still probably on the whole maintaining their 
original ethnical distribution. The conquering race is represented by the Turks 
and Turkomans, ranking in numerical importance next to the Iranians, but, like the 
Manchus in China, subject to their intellectual influence. Hence, although the 
* " Kund hamjins ba hamjins parwaz — kabutar ba kabutar, baz bi biz." 


Turks are the official administrators and almost exclusive military element, the 
Persians monopolise the industries, control all business relations, constitute, in a 
word, the civilised section of the nation. Compared physically with the Iranians, 
the Turco-Tatars have a rounder head, less oval face, less expressive features, 
smaller eyes, more massive jaws. In general they are also taller and more 
muscular, heavier and more awkward in their movements. They are at the same 
time less wily, and thus often allow the property of the plundered Persian to 
revert to its rightful owners. But while despising the old rulers of the land, 
they are always ready to make common cause with them against their Osmanli 
kinsmen; for they are far more alienated by sectarian hatred from the Anatolian 
Turk than by racial difference from their Persian fellow-subjects of the common 
Shiah faith. Their speech differs somewhat from that of the Osmanli, and is much 
more harshly pronounced, although the Anatolian and Iranian Turks are still 
mutually intelligible. The latter also understand and even speak Persian, which, 
since the middle of the present century, has again become the Court language. 

Of all the Iranian Turki tribes the first rank is now taken by the Kajars, of 
whom the reigning dynasty is a branch. But the Afshars, whom they have 
succeeded, and from whom Nadir-Shah was sprung, are still by far the most 
numerous. At the beginning of this century their various clans comprised 
altogether as many as 88,000 families; and of other Turki tribes probably the most 
powerful at present are the Kara-geuzly of Ilamadan, and the Shah-seven of 
Ardelil. The latter enjoy the privilege of supplying the Shah with his hundred 
" gholams " or bodyguard. The Turki element is naturally most numerous in the 
northern and north-western provinces, conterminous with the land of their origin. 
In Azerbeijan it comprises nearly the whole of the rural population, and numerous 
Tatar communities are also found in the central provinces. The Kashkai horde, 
dating from the time of Jenghiz-Khan, have penetrated to the neighbourhood of 
Shiraz, Forg, and Tarun in the south-west, where they are said to be numerous 
enough to supply an army of 30,000 horsemen. 

In the east Iranian uplands the Tatar element is represented by those Turko- 
man tribes that have maintained an incessant warfare against the settled peoples 
of the plateau since the remotest historic times. Before the recent reduction of 
the Tekkes by Eussia, Persians and Turkomans were continually struggling for 
the pastures of the border ranges, and especially for the upper course of the 
streams feeding the irrigation canals. In these contests the former were generally 
worsted, and gradually acquired such a dread of the nomads that in recent times 
they had almost ceased to resist them openly. The usual resource of the peasantry 
were the towers of refuge, thousands of which had been erected all over the frontier 
districts. The marauders might have even permanently occupied the uplands hut 
for their nomad tastes attracting them continually to the open plains fringing the 
desert. Nevertheless some of their tribes remained here and there in possession 
of the conquered lands, where they either continued their wandering lives, shifting 
their camping-grounds with the seasons, or else established agricultural village 
communities. In Mazanderan, on the northern slopes of Elburz. in the riverain 

110 80UTH-WE8TEEN Asia. 

districts south of the Atrek and in Khorassan as Ear as the limits of the desert, 
numerous hamlets and encampments arc met Mill occupied by the Turkoman 

descendants of the for r steppe nomads. At present the same movement continues, 

l>nt under a more pacific form, for the Khivan and Bokhara dave-markete are 
now closed, frontier warfare lias ceased; the towers of refuge, replaced by Russian 
Outposts, are crumbling to ruins. 

The Kurdish populations of the western and north-western highlands are 
ethnically distinct from the Turkomans, whom they resemble in their warlike 
spirit and habits. Occupying in Persia, Russian Trans-Caucasia, and Turkish 
Armenia most of the frontier uplands, they are politically broken into detached 
sections, the most numerous and united of which are found in Turkish territory. 
Here is the rallying-poin( of the whole race, those tribes only excepted which have 
been forcibly transplanted by the Iranian Government to the Persian Gulf, to the 
Kopet-dagh border ranges, and even to Mckran, in the midst of the Baluches on 
the south-east frontier. To the same ethnical group belong the Luri, who give 
their name to the province of Luristan, comprising the valleys of the Upper Kerkha 
basin. In speech they differ little from the Kurds, with whom, however, fchey 
would deem it an insult to be confounded, and to whom they apply the collective 
name of Lek. The chief Luri tribe, in some respects the most important in all 
Persia, are the Peili of the Upper Karun basin above Sinister and Dizful, where, 
according to Mourier, they comprise 100,000 tents under a thoroughly feudal 
system of government. 

The national type anil usages have also been well preserved by the Pakhtyari, 
that is, the " Fortunate" or "Brave," who occupy parts of Luristan and Susiana, 
and who are by some writers regarded as genuine Kurds, although now speaking 
Persian dialects. According to Duhousset, commander of a Pakhtyari regiment, 
they are the most brachycephalous of all Iranian races. Thickset, robust, and 
muscular like the Kurds, they are distinguished by their brown complexion, black 
wavy hair, thick eyebrows, large aquiline nose, sepjare chin, prominent cheek-bones, 
bearing altogether a marked resemblance to the figures represented on the coins of 
the Sassanides. They camp in summer on the pastures assigned to them by usage 
or usurped by force, and in winter occupy small villages on the plain or lower 
slopes of the hills. Their two great divisions — Haft Leng, or "Seven Feet," and 
Chatar Leng:, or " Four Feet." — are divided into numerous tirhas or clans, family 
groups governed by patriarchal chiefs with the assistance of a council of elders. 
Some of the clans are regarded as specially ennobled, either through the genealogy 
of their chiefs or by their wealth and heroic deeds. Others, occupying a position 
of vassalage or subjection to the more powerful tribes, are traditionally supposed 
to be of inferior Turki or Persian origin. Till recently the Pakhtyari were 
much dreaded as brigands and plunderers of caravans. Hence travellers from 
Shiraz or Ispahan to the Lower Euphrates basin carefully avoid their territory, 
although .Mackenzie, who lately ventured amongst them, was well received and 
provided for.* 

• "Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society," Miirch, 1883. 



The Arab and Baluch tribes are found concentrated chiefly in the districts 
bordering respectively on their native lands. Thus the Arab tribes, who claim to 
have originally migrated from Nejd, have their camping-grounds in the south- 
west, and especially in the part of the Karun plain which from them has received 
the name of Arabistan. So also the Persian Baluches dwell in the south-eastern 
province, which at one time formed part of Baluchistan, and which still retains that 
name. Floyer describes them as in general taller and more robust than those of 
the Khanate of Kelat, and many of their clans claim membership with the family 
of the Rinds, or " Brave," dwelling on the Indian frontiers. In some districts 
they are no less dreaded than were the Turkomans recently in Khorassan. Mounted 
on their swift camels, which cover as many as 90 miles a day, they have at 
times penetrated to the neighbourhood of Kirman and Yezd ; but, unlike the 
Turkomans, these marauders never kill their victims. 

Amongst the nomad tribes, estimated at a fourth, ana even a third, of the whole 
population of the plateau, there are many who claim Arab descent, although now 
completely assimilated in speech and appearance to the Iranians. Such are the 
" Arabs " of the Yeramin district to the south-east of Teheran, who speak the local 
Persian dialect, and who cannot be distinguished physically from their neighbours. 

All the nomads, of whatever race, are comprised under the collective name of 
Iliats, or " families." Their numbers increase and diminish with the political 
vicissitudes of the country, and when a province suffers from the rapacity of its 
governor, or from any other cause, the Shehr-nishin, or " town Iliats," abandon 
their settlements, and resume their wandering life as Sahara-nishin, or " desert 
Iliats." But the Kauli, Luli or Karachi, as the Gipsies of Persia are variously 
called, undergo no change. Adapting themselves to all religions without believing 
in any, they closely resemble their European congeners in their tastes and pursuits. 
Forgers, tinkers, fortune-tellers, tramps, horse-dealers, robbers, or state couriers 
they comprise altogether some 15,000 families, encamped here and there on the 
outskirts of the large towns. With them may be grouped the Luti, strolling 
minstrels, conjurers, owners of dancing-bears, and the like, although the term is 
commonly applied to any tribes associated together for the purpose of robbing or 

The Armenians, formerly very numerous, are now represented m Persia only 
by a few small communities. Most of those at one time settled in the northern 
districts of Azerbeijan, to the number of some 40,000 or 50,000, withdrew in 1 828 
to Russian Armenia, where half of them perished of cold and hunger. Nol 
more than 2,500 families remained in Azerbeijan, and beyond this province 
the chief Armenian settlement is that of Ispahan, whither 12,000 families were 
removed under great hardships by Shah Abbas in 1605. Here they flourished 
for a time, but were afterwards reduced to the greatest straits by the rapacity of 
the local governors. Of late years the Armenians in Persia are regarded almost as 
Russian subjects, and thus enjoy the special protection of the powerful Muscovite 
ambassador at the Court of Teheran. Many are nevertheless still driven by 
poverty to seek their fortunes in Trans-Caucasia, India, Constantinople, and even in 


China and .lava. The Armenian patriarch of Ispahan, when questioned by 

Polak, estimated his scattered flock at about ,'o,()i)i) altogether. 

Still Less numerous are the Persian .Jews, who are greatly despised, and confined 
in the towns to a ghetto or separate quarter, as was formerly the ease in Europe. 
Like their European brethren they offer two distinct types, one with handsome 
regular features, black eyes, and high brow, the other with broad faces, large 
nose, and crisp hair. All speak a Persian dialect with a peculiar accent and mixed 
with archaic expressions. As in Europe, they show a love of finery even in their 
pursuits, being generally embroiderers, silk-weavers, or jewellers. Bui amongst 
them are also found the best physicians and nearly all the musicians of Persia. 

The European colony consists of a lew adventurers and traders, besides the' 
suites of the envoys, and such specialists as teachers, physicians, artisans, or military 
men employed by the Government. All look on themselves as visitors, and by the 
natives are shunned as strangers. Hence few settle in the country, although many 
Polish deserters from the Russian army have become Mussulmans, and are now 
classed as Iranians. 

The old Zoroastrian religion is now practised by a mere handful of Persians, 
and in a very different form from that which must have prevailed when the 
doctrines of the Zend-Avesta were firs! promulgated. The Zardushti, or Parsis, 
have their chief communities beyond Persia, in Bombay and the neighbouring 
towns. In Persia itself they form a compact body only in the district of Yezd, or 
Yezdan, that is, " City of Light," and even there they number little over 8,000. 
Yet down to the tenth century every village had its temple, its priests, and sacred 
writings. Put since that time the "altars of fire " erected on the crests of the hills 
have all been destroyed, except that of Taft, near Yezd. The Guebres, however, 
still enjoy the privilege of burying their dead according to the old rites, and some 
isolated eminence near all their communities is crowned by a dakhmeh, or " Tower 
of Silence," where the bodies are exposed to the fowls of the air. The Guebres 
would have long ago been exterminated as detested idolaters but for a letter of the 
Caliph Ali promising them his protection. Put this document does not exempt 
them from the special tax extorted from the " infidel," and their numbers have 
till recently been constantly reduced by the practice of kidnapping their female 
children and bringing them up in the Mohammedan faith. Even now the wealthy 
Guebre merchants are permitted to ride only on asses, and compelled to dismount 
whenever they meet a Mussulman. They are also obliged to wear some special 
marks or colours, by which the populace may be able to conveniently abuse them 
without the risk of attacking the " true believers." Nevertheless, the condition of 
the fire-worshippers has been greatly improved since the middle of the present 
century, thanks mainly to the national spirit of the Indian Parsis, who help their 
Iranian co-religionists with money, and have on several occasions induced the 
British Government to interfere on their behalf. Some few influential Persians 
have be<mn to show sympathy for a community which has remained faithful 
for so many ages to the old traditions of the land. Amongst the more recent 
sects some have also endeavoured to bring about a revival of the Zoroastrian cult- 



which in the " Shah-nameh," the great national epic of Firdusi, seems even to be 
celebrated in terms of scarcely disguised' irony towards the Moslem innovation. 
" Our fathers also worshipped God," he sings. " The Arabs turn in prayer towards 
a stone ; they turned towards the bright -coloured fire." The old religion is still 

Fig. 40. — Yezd and Neighbourhood. 
Scale 1 : 1,800,000. 

SyM ■ 





. of (jreernyicK 54' 

30 Miles. 

recalled by many civil ceremonies still practised by the modern Persians. Thus in 
Khorassan strangers are met by a deputation of villagers bearing, winter and 
summer, a brazier full of burning embers; and the great national feast i> ^till 
that of the Nau-roz ("New Year") kept on March 20th, in honour of the new 
spring sun. 


The Guebres of Yezd and Barman take a leading part in the trade with India, 
and in all their dealings are Eavourahly distinguished from i Ik- Persians by their 
honesty and truthfulness. Most of them, however, arc very superstitious, allowing 
themselves to be blindly led by their mobeda, or priests, who repeat in Pehlvi 
prayers and formulas unintelligible even to themselves. Religion ha- degenerated 
to an intricate ceremonial, the attention of the ministers being exclusively occupied 
with outward forms, attitude, arrangement of the saered homa, and of the vessels 
containing the juice of this divine plant (sarcostema viminalis\ incense vases, 
mortars for pounding the ingredients of the traditional sweetmeats, and the like. 
The old dualistic faith itself has been gradually transformed to a monotheism, 
differing from that of the surrounding Mussulmans only in its outward form. In 
order to stand well with their neighbours the fire-worshippers now pretend that 
/erdusht (Zoroaster), author of their sacred writings, is the same person that Jews, 
Christians, and Mohammedans recognise under the name of Abraham. A kind of 
schism has lately sprung up between the Persian and Indian l'arsis, which, however, 
is due not to any question of dogma, but to some purely material points. Owing 
to their long separation, the two groups no longer keep the same calendar, and 
pronounce differently certain formulas of the common ritual. But in other respects 
their social usages remain much the same. Both expose their dead to the birds 
of the air, and amongst both communities unions with closely-related kindred 
continue to be contracted without any apparent deterioration of the race. 

Nine-tenths of the inhabitants of Persia belong officially to the Shiah sect, a 
form of Mohammedanism which the nation may he said to have adopted in a spirit 
of patriotic reaction against the Arab and Turki Sunnites. While imposing their 
religion on the people, the conquering Arabs, or " eaters of lizards," as they are 
contemptuously called, failed to conciliate the friendship of the vanquished. 
Hall a century had scarcely elapsed since the overthrow of the Sassanides dynasty 
before the political reaction began to be felt. The Persians showed greater 
zeal than the Arabs themselves for the maintenance of the Caliphate in Mo- 
hammed's family, a feeling due to the fact that his nephew and son-in-law, 
Ali, had married his son Hussein to the daughter of the Persian king Yezijerd, 
last of the Sassanides. Thus was united in the family of Ali the blood of the 
Prophet with that of the hereditary Persian sovereigns. But by the massacre 
of the unfortunate caliph in the mosque of Kuf a, and of his sons Eussein and 

Hassan at Keilula, both lines were simultaneously ext inguished. Great Was the 
grief of the Persian Mohammedans at this deplorable event, a grief much intensi- 
fied by the atrocious details of the sanguinary drama. These details soon passed 
into legend, and became a source of strife between the two empires, two hostile 
forces perpetuating the everlasting struggle between the two principles of the 
old Mazdean dualism. Ali was placed on the same level as Mohammed by his 
partisans, who made him the wall, or lieutenant, of Allah himself. In the eyes of 
many Shiah sectaries Ali is the true successor of Ormuzd, while the Ali-Allahi 
I Nosairi or Naseri), who include not only Iranians, but also some Turks, and 
perhaps even some fragments of Jewish tribes and Xestorians, draw no distinction 


between Allah and Ali, the last and most perfect of his thousand earthly incarna- 
tions. There are also some sects devoted to the special worship of the twelve 
imams, the descendants of the venerated caliph. On the other hand, Omar is 
regarded as a sort of Satan, to be cursed by all true believers. Every year a 
special day is set apart to celebrate the death of Omar, and pilgrims flock in 
thousands to the supposed shrine of his murderer at Kashan. 

The Shiah sect gradually embraced the whole population of Persia, although it 
did not become the State religion till the beginning of the sixteenth century, at the 
succession of the Sefvide dynasty. It is still spreading, both in Afghanistan and 
amongst the Trans- Caucasian Tatars, and gives proof of its vitality by the develop- 
ment of a national literature, which has grown up independently of priestly 
influence. Formerly Ali and his sons were commemorated only by prayer, lamen- 
tations, funeral processions, accompanied by those voluntary tortures which render the 
Shiah ceremonies such a harrowing spectacle to onlookers. The persons of the drama 
— Ali, Hussein, Hassan, the women and children massacred at Kerbela — figured in 
these representations merely as dumb witnesses of the tragedy. But they have 
now become actors, and the tazieh, like the mediaeval " mysteries," are now real 
dramatic pieces, into which the authors, for the most part unknown, have intro- 
duced monologues, dialogues, unforeseen incidents, departing even from the legend 
in order to enhance the interest of the situation. Theatrical companies, mostly 
natives of Ispahan, who of all Persians are credited with the finest voices and 
purest accent, have been formed to give representations in all the large towns. 
Other scenes, besides the Kerbela tragedy, have even been exhibited, and thus is 
slowly being developed a national drama. The families of the Seyeds, all claiming 
descent from the prophet, who form at least a fiftieth part of the whole Persian 
population, take a special part in the management of the tazieh. 

Besides these political dissensions, many doctrinal and ceremonial differences 
have gradually widened the schism between the two great divisions of Islam. In 
Persia the old caste of the magi has undergone a slow reformation ; the sacerdotal 
hierarchy has assumed a much more definite form than amongst the Sunnites, and 
the Koran, elsewhere freely interpreted by the faithful, is in Persia read and 
commented on only by the Mollahs. Images, held in horror by the Sunnites, give 
no offence to a Shiah, and a picture of the prophet Ali may be seen in almost every 
house in the country. Hence in some respects the Shiah sect indicates a return to 
the pre-Mohammedan religions, and the charge brought against it by the Sunnites 
of still clinging to the Zoroastrian cult would seem to be not altogether groundless. 

On the other hand, most Persians secretly entertain sentiments very different 
from those of the official religion. The metaphysical speculations, to which all are 
prone, have brought about a great variety of beliefs, and the same individual will 
often pass successively from om- system to another. Conflicting opinions are thus 
mutually neutralised, and great religious movements become almost impossible. 
Although the clergy reserve to themselves the right of interpreting the sacred 
writings, every Persian fancies himself a theologian, and fearlessly approaches the 
most abstract subjects, even at the risk of heresy. All, however, are held to be 


justified in concealing their inmost convictions, and outwardly professing a faith 
they inwardly reject. The writings of the sectaries, like those of so many mediaeval 
philosophers, have two perfectly distinct meanings, the official or orthodox, and the 

hidden or mystic, the kej of which is held by the disciples, and discussed in tile 

secret conventicles. In refined circles the most prevalent doctrine is that of the 
Sufis, who disregard the Mussulman practices, and whose high-priest is Shemseddin, 

better known by the name of Mali*. This delightful poet, who flourished in the 
fourteenth century, proclaimed in exquisite rerse the superiority of human morals 
to all mystic formulas and to all hope ol reward, By constantly repeating these 

verses and the words of their own great writers, the Sufis give expression to their 
religious independence, which for some is the merest scepticism and for others is 
allied to metaphysical speculations. _Most of the Sulis would be classed in Europe 
with the pantheists, believing as they do in the intimate union id' all things with 
God, consequently recognising their own divinity, and regarding themselves as the 
centre of all things. Certain cynical Mollahs suggest that Sufi doctors recommend 
the intoxication of hashish or opium, because in the attendant visions all objects 
become coinmi tilled or transformed, all outlines fade away, and the dreamer is again 
merged in the primeval wave of universal divinity. The Persians are mostly only 
too prone to seek this ecstatic state in the intoxicating effects of narcotics or 
alcoholic drinks, eagerly degrading themselves in their desire to contemplate the 
universal godhead in their own hallucinations. 

But during the present century society has been most deeply moved by the sect 
of the Bahists, who have not limited their action to religious proselytism, but by 
invading the field of politics have been the cause of sanguinary civil strife. To 
their theological view's, in which a great part was played by the theory of numbers 
and points regarded, as divine manifestations, the disciples of Mirza Ali Moham- 
med, better known by the name of Bab, or " Gate," superadded the ideal of a new 
social svstem realised in their own communities. They recognised no method of 
government beyond benevolence, mutual affection, courtesy, even in serious cases 
tolerating no remedy except the appeal to an umpire. In the education of children 
the rod was laid aside, and even during study hours no cheek was put on their 
play, laughter, or on " anything conducive to their happiness." Bab condemns 
polygamy, divorce, the veil; he advises the faithful to be solicitous for the welfare 
of their women, to consult their pleasure and tastes, and refuse them no finery 
becoming their personal appearance. Hence the women eagerly adopted Babism, 
and amongst its apostles no one has left a greater name for devotion, zeal, and 
eloquence than the fair Zerrin Taj, or "Golden Crown," surnamed also Gurret-ul- 
Ain, or "Consolation of the Eyes." By several European writers the Babi have 
been wrongly classed with the Communist sects. |',ut although Bab did not recom- 
mend a community of g Is, he exhorted the wealthy to regard themselves as trustees 

for the substance of the poor, and to share their superabundance with the needy. 

When his doctrines were first formulated, neither he nor his followers had any 
thought of acquiring civil power. But they were driven to revolt by the 
persecutions of the priests, alarmed for the stability of their status. After the 


sanguinary struggles of 1848 all the Babi of Mazanderan were put to the sword, 
the city of Zenjan delivered up to fire and massacre, and Bab himself put to death. 
Some of those who had escaped having attempted to revenge themselves on the 
person of the Shah, an order was issued for the extermination of all still professing 
the doctrines of All Mohammed. The captives were then distributed amongst 
the State officials, who vied with each other in giving proof of their loyalty by the 
refinement of the tortures inflicted on their wretched victims. Some were hacked 
to pieces with knives, some slowly flayed or dissected piecemeal, some bound baud 
and foot with iron fetters and scourged to death. Women and children moved 
about amid the executioners, stuck all over with burning torches, and so consumed 
Above the silence of the awe-stricken multitude nothing was heard but the shouts 
of the torturers and the song, growing fainter and fainter, of the tortured, " Verily 
we came from God, and unto Him we return." 

Nevertheless these butcheries do not appear to have entirely suppressed liabism, 
which is commonly believed to be more flourishing than ever, and all the more 
formidable that its operations are now conducted in secret. In Persia it lias no 
recognised heads, although amongst its followers arc some of the high-priests of 
the State religion, who correspond freely with Bab's successor, now resident in 
Asiatic Turkey. But whatever real power he may possess, it is none the less 
certain that Persia is now passing through a critical period of her social life. 
Many inward changes indicating a fresh development of the national genius seem 
to be imminent at the very moment that the ever-increasing pressure from without 
threatens to deprive her of the last semblance of political autonomy. 


In proportion to the whole population, the urban element is far more 
considerable in Iran than in Cis-gangetic India. The relative area covered by the 
larp;e towns is also, as a rule, much greater than in Europe. The houses are low 
and surrounded by courts and other structures, while the palaces of the nobles 
occupy extensive quarters, where the stranger may easily lose his way in a 
labyrinth of courts and passages. Yet these buildings seldom last long, every 
fresh proprietor allowing his predecessor's residence to fall in ruins, either through 
love of change or perhaps to avoid the misfortunes by which he may have been 
overtaken. Fresh edifices are thus raised by the side of the old palaces, and the 
city continues to grow in size if not in population. Hence the crumbling ruins, 
often covering large spaces, have been wrongly appealed to by many travellers as a 
proof that the country was formerly much more densely peopled than at present. 

Few cities occupy a less advantageous position than Mexhcd, present capital of 
Khorassan, and the largest place in north-east Persia. To the tomb of the imam 
Reza, one of Ali's disciples, it is mainly indebted for its present importance, Meshed 
the " holy " having been a mere village before the remains of that " saint " began 
to attract pilgrims in thousands to his shrine. Lying 3,100 feet above the level of 
the sea, in a dry and very moderately fertile plain some six miles south of the 


Kashaf-rud, a western tributary of the Herat River, it enjoys easy communication 
only with the Upper Atrek basin, running north-west between the parallel Kopet- 
dagb and Ala-dagh ranges. To reach any other pari of EOiorassan lofty mountains 
must 1»' crossed, on the west towards Nishapur and Damghan, on the south and 
south-east towards Turbat-Haidiri, Turbat-Sheikh-i-Jami, and Herat, on the north- 
east ami nortb towards Sarakhs and Kelat-i-Nadir, Bui the highways followed by 
the pilgrims have become trade routes; the hundred thousand faithful who yearly 
visit the imam's shrine have brought commerce in their wake, and Meshed has 
succeeded Herat as the commercial metropolis of Khorassan. Under Nadir-Shah 
it was for a short time capital of the whole empire. 

The only interesting monument in the holy city Is the mosque, whose golden 
cupola rises above Reza's tomb nearly in the geometrical centre of the place. Xo 
European has hitherto succeeded in penetrating undisguised into this building, which 
in the eyes of the faithful would be polluted by his presence. The precincts, 
however, serve as a place of refuge for criminals, and this convenient sanctuary 
contributed not a little to the enlargement of the city. All pilgrims visiting the 
shrine receive twice a day for a week a plate of pilaw at the expense of the imam's 
establishment, thai is, of the five hundred priests who live on the contributions and 
endowments of the mosque. The library attached to it contains marly three 
thousand works, including some of great value. The Ivhiaban. or central avenue, 
running for about two miles east and west between the Herat and Kuchan gates, 18 
divided by the mosque into two sections, planted with shady trees, lined by 
numerous shops, and watered by a running stream, which, however, Is little better 
than an open sewer. "Within the ramparts are vast spaces occupied by cemeteries, 
whither are brought from distances of 300 miles the bodies of devoul Mussulmans 
anxious to ascend into heawen in company with the imam Reza. Some gardens 
are also comprised within the enclosures, beyond which are other cultivated grounds, 
not, however, sufficient for the support of the inhabitants, who depend for their 
supplies mainly on the caravans. In exchange these take carpets, arms, metal work, 
and vases of "black stone." a species of steatite yielded by the neighbouring 
quarries. Amongst the inhabitants of Meshed are a few hundred Jews, who were 
compelled in lS'S-3 to purchase their lives byconversion to Islam, hut who are 
merely nominal Mohammedans, -till cherishing the old faith in scent. 

The plain stretching north-west of Meshed and draining to the Heri-rud is 
dotted over with Kurdish villages, fortified against the attacks of the Turkoman 
marauders, in this region, which is one of the granaries of Persia, and noted for 
it- excellent breed of camels, are also situated the towns of Ktiximnlmil and Radkan, 
the latter near the marshes about the sources of the Eashaf-rud North of 
Ka-iiuahad stand the ruins of the famous city of Tus, where Harun-ar-liashid died, 
and where, in Mil), was horn the poet Firdusi, author of the " Shah-nameh." The 
little shrine which till the beginning of the present century still marked the site 
of hi- tomb has since disappeared. 

The town- lying on the northern -lope of the mountains north of Meshed have 
hitherto been prevented from flourishing by the incessant border warfare with the 


Fig. 41. — Tower of Meimaxdan on the Roite from Damohan to Meshed. 

Turkoman raiders. But since the pacification oi this region bv the reduction of the 
Tekkes, Mohammedabad, Lutfabad, and other places on the fertile slopes of the 


Dereghez (" Tamarind Valley"), cannot fail to become important centres of trade 
between Persia and the Caspian basin. But bow many ruined cities are shown over 
these productive regions, formerly cultivated by the industrious inhabitants of 
tfargiana! From the spurs of the mountains projecting into the Tejen valley, the 
horizon appears in many places Fringed with the countless remains "1* (rails and 
ramparts quivering in the mirage. Here and there whole towns with their stn 
squares, and citadels, have remained in almost a- perfect >( state of preservation as 
when they were first abandoned. But their only denizens arc now the prowling 
leopard and jackal. One of these phantom cities is Khivabad, peopled by Nadir- 
Shah with captives from Khiva and Bokhara, but where uo native would now 
dare to take up his abode. The Turkomans who cultivate the surrounding lands, 
all dwell in the plain of the Tejen, some Id or I s miles farther north. Khu-ru- 
tepe, or the •• Hill of Khosroes," a much more ancient place, Lying to tin- east of 
Lutfabad, is shunned in the same way, notwithstanding the efforts of the Khan of 
Pereghcz to found a Turkoman settlement within its enclosures. Some of these 
places have had to he abandoned owing to the shifting of the rivers. Such was 
Abiverd, which still figures on most maps, although it has been Long replaced by 
Kahk, towards which now flows the copious river Lain-su. Various ruins desig- 
nated by flic name of Kailich, Kalisa, or Kalisi, a term wrongly identified with 
or "church," are commonly supposed to attest the existence of ancient 
Nestorian communities in this region. But this word would appear in most i 
to be simply the Persian Kalasa, a well, and especially the watering-places main- 
tained at intervals in the desert, for the Use of caravans and pilgrims to Mecca.* 

A ruined tower near Mohammeddbad, present capital of the Pereghcz district, 
marks the site of the tent where vvas born the famous Turkoman conqueror, Nadir- 
Shah. He gives his name to Keht-i-Nadir, or "The Castle of Nadir," which 
stands on the almost impregnable plateau commanding (he Tejen valley, between 
Mohammedabad and Sarakha. Kelat is the chief military station of the district, 
and here the Persian Government maintains a Btrong garrison. But the most 
jealously defended strategic point on the north-east frontier is the town of Sarakhs, 
which stands on the Heri-rud (Tejen) at its entrance to the Turkoman territory. 
Even more than Merv. Sarakhs may be regarded as the gate of India ; for from 

this point access might be most easily obtained to the Herat valley between Persia 
and Afghanistan. Hence, according to MacGregor, Sarakhs must one day become 
the bulwark of British India or the point of attack for Russia. Its present 
population consists of Persian troops, Jewish traders, and a few Turkoman resident-. 
The surrounding district is little cultivated, although it might easily be converted 
into a vast cornfield by means of irrigating canals from the Tejen, and by the water 
which is found everywhere by sinking wells to a depth of 18 or '20 feet. 

South of Meshed the onlytown in the Henri-rud basin is Turbat-Sheikh-i-Jami, 

which lies on the Jam. near the Afghan frontier. Tunik/i and Sherifabad, situated 

farther west, derive some importance from their position at the junction of the 

pilgrim routes converging from the west, south, and east, on Meshed. In this 

• A. II. Krane, in Nature, for Feb. 15, 1883. 



district are the salt hills of Kafir-Kalah, whence the surrounding region derives its 
supplies. Xorth-west of the Sherifabad Pass, that of Dahrud connects the Meshed 
with the Nishapur valley. Owing to the snows the ascent is difficult, and some- 
times blocked altogether in winter. But from these uplands, which attain an 
elevation of probably 10,000 feet, the road leads south-westwards down to one of 
the most fertile and picturesque regions in the whole of Persia. Here the villages 

Fig. 42. — Meshed and Kelat-i-Xadir. 
Scale 1 : 1.200,000. 


L. of brcenwich 

30 Miles. 

disappear beneath the dense foliage of the fruit-trees, every valley has its splashing 
streams, waterfalls flash between the fissures of the rocks, the path winds amid 
flowery meads. Accustomed to the shifting dunes, sandy or saline wastes, and 
swamps of the Kevir, the traveller asks in amazement whether this ran still be the 
same region of East Persia, elsewhere so arid ami destitute of vegetation. Nishapur, 
the Nisaya or Nisoa blessed by Ormuzd, the birthplace of the Dionysos of Greek 
legend, one of the Iranian "paradises," and present capital of this district. 


certainly offers Ear greater advantages than Meshed as the metropolis of Eaa1 Iran. 
By Ilm Hankal it is mentioned with Eerat, Merv, and Balkh, as one of the four 

capitals of Kliorassan ; ami Yakut, who had traversed the whole Mohammedan 
world, could find no place worthy to be compared with it. Before the Mongol 
invasion it was described 1 as the most flourishing and populous city in the world, 
and its destruction was spoken of as the greatest calamity that had ever befallen 
[slam. At presenl Nishapur is still a lifeless place, notwithstanding the fertility 
of the surrounding plains, which yield excellent fruits, cereals, cotton, and other 
produce. The Binalud hills, separating it From Meshed, abound in gold, silver, 

copper, tin, lead, and iron ores, besides saltpetre, marliles, and several varieties of 
choice malachite and turquoises. 

Sebzetoar occupies a narrow valley between two salt deserts west of Niahapur 
mi the Teheran route. It is separated by a lofty range from the flourishing town 
of Sii/fan/ili/n/, which lies in a well-watered and productive district surrounded by 
extensive pasture-lands said to be occupied by some 8,000 Nomad Baluch families. 
Another commercial centre in this region is Turbat-i-Hardari (Turbat-IwkhanX 
which lies in a secluded mountain valley 4,500 feet above the sea, on the route 
between Meshed and Kirman. South-east of it is the town of Khaf, near the 
Afghan frontier, which derives some importance from its position as capital of the 
Taimuri Aimaks. Of the few noteworthy places in the arid and less populous 
region of Southern Kliorassan, the most frequented by the caravans are Bcy'istan, 
lying to the south of Sultanabad, Kakh, famous for its embroidered silk fabrics, and 
Tun, former capital of the district of Tun and Tebbes. Tun, traditionally said at 
one time to have possessed "two thousand mosques and two thousand tanks," has 
been succeeded as the administrative centre by Tebbes, which is situated much farther 
west, almost in the midst of the wilderness, at one of the lowest points of the 
plateau. Although without industries and inhabited by a wretched fanatical 
population, Tebbes is important as the last station on the western verge of the hilly 
Chorassan region for caravans crossing the great desert in the direction of Yezd 
and Ispahan. Here the traveller finds at least pure water and a grateful shade, 
while theneighbouringdistriet yields dates, tobacco, opium, and assafcetida for export. 

Kain, ancient capital of Kain or Kuhistan, a region stretching from Tun east- 
wards to Afghanistan, lies on the confines of the wilderness, which in this direction 
reaches to l'arah beyond the frontier. Kain, whose ramparts and 8,000 houses are 
mostly in ruins, has been succeeded by the present capital, Birjand (Mihty'anj, one 
of the busiest places in East Persia. But the so-called " Birjand" carpets, famous 
throughout West Irania, are woven almost exclusively in the village of Daraksh, 
■"iii miles to the north-east, by artisans originally from Herat. Nih, in the neigh- 
bourhood "t Sistan, is noted for its copious hoi springs, which, like fresh water, are 
drawn off to the underground galleries for irrigation purposes. lint the neigh- 
bouring lead and copper mines, once extensively worked, arc now abandoned. That 
this region was formerly far more civilised and prosperous than at present is also 
evident from the ruins scattered over Sistan, the ancients • Sejestan, along the routes from 
Nih to the Hilmend. This birthplace of the legendary Rustem was mainly the scene 


of the heroic history of Iran, and even since those remote epochs the Sistani have 
more than once influenced the destinies of Persia Nasirabad, the present capital, 
lies nearly midway between the Hamun depression and the Hilmend. It had been 
preceded by Sakuha, whose citadel still crowns one of the three eminences whence 
this place takes the name of the " Three Hills." Here the fertile frontier district, 
watered by canals from the Hilmend, is defended by Kalah-nau (" New Castle"), 
one of the best-constructed and picturesque strongholds in Persia. 

The north-west corner of Khorassan, comprising the valley of the Atrek, 
belongs to the Caspian basin. Near the low water-parting between the Atrek and 
Kashaf-rud lies the city of Kabushan, or Kuehan, at an elevation of 4,200 feet 
above sea level. Thanks to this position, it enjoys a mild climate, in which the 
grape ripens ; but the district is exposed to violent earthquakes, by which Kuehan 
has been frequently laid in ruins. Nevertheless it is still a flourishing place, 
doing a large traffic in horses, wool, and agricultural produce. Owing to its 
position near the water-parting, it is also an important strategical place, where the 
Government maintains a garrison and permanent encampment. Two miles to the 
north-east is shown the hill where Nadir-Shah was killed while besieging the 
revolted city. 

Farther down the Atrek valley follow the picturesque towns of Shirwan and 
Bujntml, the latter lying on a southern affluent of the main stream, and noted for 
its delicate silk fabrics. West of this place there are no important towns either in 
the Atrek basin or in the Upper Gurgen valley, which are inhabited only by 
nomad populations. But the south-east corner of the Caspian, a position of great 
natural and historical importance, is occupied by Astrabad, at the converging- 
point of all the main routes between Iran and Turan. Astrabad also enjoys the 
local advantages derived from its fertile and well-watered surroundings, and its 
proximity to one of the least dangerous seaports of the Caspian. In this district 
the chief ethnical element is the Kajar Turkoman tribe, of which the present 
royal family of Persia is a member. The old palace of the khans in the centre of 
the town still serves as the residence of the provincial authorities ; but Astrabad 
itself is a mere aggregate of hovels encircled by crumbling walls and infested l>y 
packs of jackals and half-savage dogs. Its industries are restricted to felt, carpets, 
and soap made of sesame oil ; but the neighbouring districts, watered by the 
Kara-su and the Gurgen, yield abundant crops, pomegranates, and other fruits of 
prime quality. The outport for this produce is Kenar-Gaz( Bandar- Ga%, or simply 
Gaz), which lies some 2-1 miles west of Astrabad and south-east of the Russian 
island of Aaburadeh. From this place the Armenian traders export considerable 
quantities of cotton and boxwood from the neighbouring hills. 

Besides its defensive works, the plain of* Astrabad is studded with numerous 
sepulchral mounds and other structures, the most remarkable of which are those of 
Gutnish- tepe, or the " Silver Hill," near the mouth of the Gurgen. Gumish-tepe, 
so-named from the silver coins often picked up among its debris, is regarded by 
the local population as the work of Alexander. In any case ii forms a link in a 
series of important military works, being connected with the Karasuli mound by 



the Kizil-Alan. or "Red Wall," which is continued aa Ear as Bujnurd by a triple 
line of ramparts, indicated bj a series of eminences along the water-parting between 
the Ghirgen and A trek. These earthworks, which during the Middle Ages Berved 
as tin Persian line of defence againsl the formidable Yajuj and Majuj hordes, 
have a total length of over 300 miles. They run by the old city of Gurgen, 
terminating towards the < laspian in a number of causeway - carried over the inter- 
vening marshes. Here the village of Gumish-tepe is one of the few permanent 
encampments of the Yomud Turkomans, who own about a hundred smacks, and 

Pig. 18. — Ki >m\ and Source of the Atuek. 
Scale 1 : 1.800,000. 

"4j£a-.;.coi. i.p. 

■ -' 




>- %TiAOrtaojars 

» \ 




Kaf ir K«iah~ "2 

*?"=**• >, V 


^} ^y Pf*tn /sfe- 

J 1 -~*hn ^ 


/'/sin of £jouvsi'n , *-— -.--^336 • ZE*^ 

'■"••-. " - 


L « of b"**' 

30 Miles. 

capture enormous quantities of fish at the mouth of the Ghirgen. From these they 
prepare the caviare which is exported to Russia by the local Armenian dealers. 

West of Astrabad the Mazanderan seaboard contains no towns or structures oi 
any size until we reach the famous palaces of Ashref, erected by Shah-Abbas on 
the slopes of a headland commanding an extensive view of Astrabad Bay and the 
Caspian. These edifices, built in separate blocks within a common enclosure, are 
in a ruinous state, having suffered much From the followers of the rebel Cossack 
Stephen Razin, from fires, and the ravages of time. Very few of the apartments 


are still inhabitable ; but the surrounding gardens and thiekets are unrivalled in 
Persia for the wealth and variety of their vegetation. Sari, which lies farther 
west in the district watered by the Tejcn, is also a decayed place, whose population 
has fallen from over ^0,000 at the beginning of the century to little more than 
7,000. Sari is a very old place, which D'Anville and Rennell have endeavoured to 
identify with the ancient Zadra-Karta, the largest city in llyrcania, where the 
army of Alexander stopped to sacrifice to the gods. Feridun, the legendary hero 
of Persia, is supposed to lie buried under a mosque which stands on the site of a 
temple of fire, while a ruined tower in the vicinity is said to have formed part of 
the tomb of his two sons. Like Ashref, Sari is surrounded by a vast garden, and 
the neighbouring plains covered with mulberry, cotton, rice, and sugar plantations. 
Its outport on the Caspian is Farah-abad, at the mouth of the Tejen, whose 
inhabitants are chiefly occupied with fishing and the preparation of caviare. In 
the time of Pietro della Valle (1618), Farah-abad (Ferhabad), which Shah-Abbas 
had recently founded, was the chief city in Mazanderan, with several streets a 
league in length, and a superficial area equal to, if not greater than, that of Pome 
or Constantinople. 

Barf rush (Bar/crush or Bar-fiirnt/i) is a much more modern place than the 
neighbouring Sari. Three centuries ago it was a mere village ; but thanks to its 
healthy position and greater facilities of communication with Teheran over the 
Elburz Passes, it has gradually become the most important city of Persia on the 
Caspian seaboard. Its bazaar is one of the best stocked in the East, and its seaport 
of Meahed-i-Ser, at the mouth of the river Balul, is the busiest place along the 
whole coast, notwithstanding its difficult approaches. The staple export is raw 
cotton shipped by the Armenian traders in exchange for Russian wares. Ali-abad, 
lying south-east of Barfrush, is the agricultural centre of the surrounding sugar, 
cotton, and rice-growing districts. South-west of the same place is the small town 
of Sheikh-Tabrisi, memorable for the massacre of its Babi defenders, not one of 
whom survived. 

Like Sari, Amul or Amol is an historic place, which in the time of Yacut ranked 
as the first city in Tabaristan, as Mazanderan was then called. And, although it 
has lost its famous carpet and cotton industries, Amul still remains the great 
mart for the agricultural produce of the whole region between Elburz and the 
Caspian. Here terminates the carriage road that has been constructed from the 
capital through the Lar valley, east of Demavend, down to the Mazanderan 
plains. From this point to the Sefid-rud Delta, a distance of some 150 miles, the 
strip of open country between the hills and the coast is too narrow for the develop- 
ment of any large centres of population. Towards its western extremity are the 
copious sulphur-springs known as Ab-i-Gcrm, or " Hot Waters," and farther on 
large quantities of hard asphalte are collected and worked into jewellery. 

In the districts of Ghilan, east of the Sefid-rud, the chief places are Lengherud 
and Lahijan. Resht, the largest city in this province, lies west of the river in an 
unhealthy swampy district crossed by the main route from the plateaux to the 
"Dead "Water," or Gulf of Enseli. From this seaport Pesht receives large 


quantities of caviare, reed mats, and ornamental birds' feathers, and through the 
same place it exports raw silks, cocoons, carpets, and other local produce. The 
trade of Resht is chiefly in the hands of Russian Armenians and dews, 
although Hindu Baniahs,and even Povindaha from Afghanistan, have been met in 
its streets, together with European merchants. In the neighbouring lagoon of the 
Murd-ab, or " Dead Water," over two million perch (lucioperca) have been taken 
in a year, and us many as dOH.IIIIO carp (rypritUM cephalitis} W a single day. Knzeli, 
one of the worst anchorages in the Caspian, lies aboul 18 miles north-west of 
Resht, facing the bar over which the sea communicates with the shallow lagoon. 
The difficulties of transport across this lagoon and the dangerous roadstead are the 
great obstacles to the de\elopment of the local trade, which would be increased 
fourfold by the const ruction of a navigable canal connecting Resht with a good 
artificial seaport. But the commercial question is affected by political considera- 
tions, for the Persian Government naturally fears to excite the cupidity of Russia 
by fully developing the natural resources of the Caspian seaboard. Nevertheless, 
the time cannot be very remote when effect must be v.i\en to some of the 
numerous projects for connecting Resht with Teheran by a railway running from 
the Ghilan coast, through the Sefid-rud valley, up to the Iranian plateau. As 
soon as the Russian lines are connected with those of Trans-Caucasia, a further 
continuation of the system in the direction of Persia will become a primary 
necessity of international traffic. 

At present the route from the coast to the interior does not follow the natural 
opening of the Sefid-rud valley, but ascends in abrupt inclines to the heights 
Hanking its western edge. Here the town of Rudbar, or Rudbar of the Olives, a- it 
is often called, covers a space of at least 3 miles in a plain thickly planted with 
fruit-trees, and especially with olives. The latter, which flourish in no other pari 
of Persia, are employed chiefly in the manufacture of soap. Higher up the bridge 
of Menjhil, just below the confluence of the Shah-rud and Kizil-uzen, which unite 
to form the Sefid-rud, is taken as the limit of the two provinces of Ghilan and 
Irak-Ajemi. The southern approach of the routes, descending beyond the hills down 
to the Ashabad plains, is guarded by Shunt'/, whose position thus secures to it some 
strategic and commercial importance. Some 1 miles to the north is Bostani, which, 
like Shahrud, is surrounded by forests of apricot, fig, mulberry, and apple trees. • 
(hi the neighbouring upland pastures are bred some of the finest horses in Persia, 
Damgkan, lying to the south-west of Shahrud, and like that place one of the chief 
stations between Meshed and Teheran, was formerly a very large city, whose ruins 
still cover a vast space. But among them no traces have yet been discovered of 
ancient monuments, although Damghan (Damaghan) is usually identified with the 
old Parthian capital, to which the Greek- had given the title of Hecatonpylos, or 
the "City of the Hundred Gates." In any case Damghan shares with Shahrud 
the advantage of standing at the converging-point of numerous routes from the 
Elburz highlands and Iranian plateau. And if no ancient buildings are here found, 
tradition at least speaks of a "Silver City," said to have flourished in the neigh- 
bourhood. The prosperity of Damghan was due chiefly to the irrigating waters, 




mm * 




' ' l_LL__ L 


derived through underground galleries from the Elburz range, and Yacut describes 
as one of the finest monuments he had ever seen the reservoir supplying Damghan, 
the one hundred and twenty villages and tobacco-fields of the surrounding district. 

Semnan, which lies also on the Teheran route, although strategically less impor- 
tant than the " City of the Hundred Gates," is equally populous, while its mosques, 
caravanserais, public baths, and other buildings are in a better state of repair. 
From this point to Teheran there is no other large town on the main highway, the 
vital importance of which is attested by numerous forts, artificial mounds, and 
other defensive works scattered along the route. In the popular belief, all the 
topes in this region are the remains of towers formerly raised by the fire- worshippers, 
hence still known as Ghebr-abad, or " Dwellings of the Ghebrs." Most of them 
have been used as entrenched camps, and the bonfires kindled on their summits 
often served to flash the tidings of warlike movements across the salt desert. 

Of the ancient Verumin, whose name survives in that of the surrounding 
district, nothing now remains except a ruined fortress, a few country residences, 
and a fine mosque dating from the fourteenth century. Yet Veramin preceded 
Teheran as capital of Persia, and the neighbouring village of Aitcan-i-Knif still 
guards the western approach to the pass, which by most historians has been 
identified as the famous " Caspian Gate." 

Teheran, the present capital of the Shah's dominions, although situated on the 
verge of the desert, does not occupy such an inconvenient geographical position as 
is generally supposed. It lies nearly in the centre of the great crescent formed by 
the Elburz range south of the Caspian, and it thus commands both the eastern 
and western provinces. It also communicates by easy passes over the Elburz 
range north-eastwards with Mazanderan and Astrabad, north-westwards with 
Ghilan, and over the older capitals, Shiraz and Ispahan, it possesses the further 
advantage of presenting a strategical front to Russia, that is, the power from whom 
Persia has most to fear. Lastly, standing at an altitude of 3,860 feet above the 
sea, it enjoys a relatively temperate climate with the convenience of cool, healthy 
retreats during summer on the southern slopes of the neighbouring Elburz Mountains. 

Teheran, or rather Tihran, the " Pure," is a modern city, heir to the Rhai of 
the Arabs, which had itself succeeded the older capital, Raghes. The walls of 
Rhai, with a circumference of over 21 miles, are still visible in the plain stretching 
to the south of Teheran. Rut with the exception of two towers, nothing now 
remains within the enclosure, which has been converted into a cultivated tract, 
where the plough occasionally turns up a few gold and silver coins. Repeatedly 
captured and destroyed, Rhai never recovered from its overthrow by the Mongo- 
lians in the thirteenth century, when its surviving inhabitants weir transferred to 
Teheran, which at that time was regarded as a northern dependence of the capital. 
But the religious sanctuary, as so often happens, continued to be maintained in the 
fallen city, which was traditionally said to be the birthplace of Zoroaster. An old 
suburb of Rhai, containing the tomb of the martyr Shah Abdul Azim. has become 
a small town of that name, witli bazaars, baths, and shady avenues converging on 
the mosque containing the imam's shrine. 



The present fortifications oi Teheran, modelled <>n those of Paris, but built of a 
lr>-- durable mail rial, already show numerous signs of decay, and although capable 
of resisting a local insurrection, thei could "Hit do serious obstacle in modern 
artillery. A second enclosure has recently been planned and partly constructed, 
which La intended to include all the suburbs, thus doubling the official extenl of the 
city, although the space contained within the old walls i- still far from being lmilt 

Fig. II. Tehekan. 
Scale 1 : 226,000. 

L . of b< 

. 6 Miles. 

over. The approach u> Teheran presents no domes, towers, or other striking 
objects, but the gates with their fine pointed archways, columns, ami elegant 
• aamelled porcelain decorations, show that amid the general decadence the Persian 
race has at least preserved its artistic taste and originality. Within the walls two 
distinct influences are everywhere apparent: the old conservative spirit, and the 
mania for imitating everything European. The grand bazaar resembles those of 
other Eastern cities, while the neighbourhood of the palace is already laid out with 






shops and houses in the western taste. Elsewhere the whole place is mainly a 
labyrinth of narrow, crooked streets, obstructed by heaps of rubbish, full of deep 
ruts and pitfalls, cleansed only by dogs and jackals. Still the aristocratic quarters 
have their boulevard planted with trees, lighted by gas, and enlivened by elegant 
equipages. The neighbourhood, especially towards the north, is well irrigated by 
underground channels from the hills, and covered with cultivated fields and 

Fi#. 45. — Teheran — View taken on the Kasoxi Koute. 

gardens. In summer the wealthy classes migrate in this direction towards the 
northern heights, which are covered with villages and country seats, known by the 
collective name of Skemiran or Shimran. Here the Court retires to the royal palace 
of Niaveran, and removes later on to the banks of the Lai at the foot of Deinaveud, 
some 6,000 feet above sea level. In this pleasant retreat both English and Russian 
embassies have a summer village, where the authority of the Queen and Czar 
is alone recognised. The inhabitants of Gulhak, the British village, being exempt 


from taxation, are in a very prosperous state, and here is a little colony of Guebres 
largely employed as gardeners. 

Teheran is now connected by a fine carriage-road, 90 miles long, with Kasvin, 
which was Itself at one time a capital city, and which has again acquired some 
importance from the revival of trade between Persia and Caucasia. One of the 

chief stations on the same north-western route is Sultatlieh, which preceded Ispahan 

as metropolis of the State, but which is now little more than a heap of ruins. 
Beyond it, in the same direction, lies Zenjan, the last town in Irak- Ajemi where 

Persian is still spoken. It is replaced on the northern side of the Katlan-kuh 
range by Turki, which is the current speech of Mianeh,B wretched place On a head- 
stream of the Sefid-rud, dreaded by all travellers and infested by the tiri/as PerstCU, 
a venomous insect whose bite, harmless to the natives, has occasionally proved 
fatal to strangers. Here died the illustrious French traveller Thevenot, in the 
year l<il>7. A little to the north-west lies the large village of Turkmanchdi, 
celebrated for the treaty of L828, by which Persia ceded to Russia the districts of 

Erivan and Nakhichevan, as well as the absolute possession of the Caspian Sea. 

Tabriz ( Tebris, Tauris), capital of Azerbaijan, and till recently the most 
populous city in Persia, is the ancient Kandsag of the Armenians, which was 
founded at the end of the fourth century of the new era. It lies in the basin of 
Lake Urmiab, in the middle of a plain dominated southwards by the lofty Schend 
volcano. The city is surrounded by thousands of well-watered gardens; and 
although the enclosures are scarcely 11 miles in circumference, it was described in 
1675 by Ohardin as one of the gnat cities of the world, with 300 caravanserais, 
230 mosques, a bazaar containing 15,000 stalls, and a total population of 550,000. 
Put since then it has been wasted, not only by fire and the sword, but also by live 
disastrous earthquakes, by which 70,000 persons are said to have perished in L727 
and 40,000 in 1780. To these causes is due the scarcity of tine monuments, 
notwithstanding the antiquity of Tabriz, the wealth of its merchants, the power 
and influence of its former riders, the great beauty of the marbles, porphyries, 
lavas, and other materials available for building purposes. The citadel, a massive 
quadrangle < s o feet high, is the most imposing structure, since the almost total 
destruction in 17*0 of the famous " Blue Mosque," a marvel of Pastern architecture 
and decorative art, of which nothing now remains except a few broken shafts and 
the fragments id' a gateway. 

The commercial importance of Tabriz, combined with its vicinity to the Russian 
frontier, has caused it to be chosen as the residence of the heir to the throne. 
Lying al the north-west corner of the empire, near the Russian and Turkish frontiers, 
it has naturally become a great international entrepot, where Armenian and even 
European traders have settled in considerable numbers. The foreign exchanges 
were estimated by Frazer at about fl, 000,000 in ls:;-_>, and the vast bazaar is always 
well stocked with English, Russian, and other European wares. Although very 
cold in winter, the surrounding district yields all the produce id' the temperate zone, 
including almonds, apricots, and other fruits of prime quality. The baths of Laid, 
near the flourishing village of Sirdar ltd, are much frequented by the inhabitants, 



who also resort in summer to the shady villages and mineral waters of the Sehend 

Ahar, lying in the Araxis valley to the north-east of Tabriz, is noted chiefly 
for its rich iron mines, while equally productive copper mines are found in the 
neighbourhood of ArdMl, which is situated in the same basin close to the Russian 
frontier. North of this place, on the route to Caucasia, lies the ancient city of 
Maraud, where the tomb of Noah's wife is shown by Christians and Mohammedans 
alike. West of it lies the fortified town of Khoi, close to the Turkish frontier, 
noted especially for its mulberries. On the main route running from Khoi north- 
westwards to Erzerum and Trebizond, the only noteworthy place within the Persian 

Fig. 46.— Takht-i-Svlaiman. 
Scale 1 : 18,000. 

J* "^ 


r 1 ■ B li - 



t , of Greenwich 47! 14 '30" 


*• . 



A7\ 15' 

1,100 Yards. 

frontier is Jfakit, which stands at the foot of a hill pierced by a yawning cavern 
over 600 feet broad. 

Another grotto, traditionally said to have been occupied by Zoroaster, is found 
near the city of TJrmiah (TJrmij), which lies in a highly-cultivated and thickly- 
peopled plain sloping down to the great lake of like name. From the station of 
Seir, founded by the American missionaries in L831, a delightful view is commanded 
of this wooded plain with its "three hundred villages," inhabited chiefly by 
Nestorian Chaldeans, amongst whom Protestantism lias made considerable progress 
in recent years. All these frontier towns carry on a large contraband trade across 
the borders with the adjacent Russian and Turkish provinces. 

Maragha, which is pleasantly situated on the southern slopes of Sehend, was 
famous in mediaeval times for its scientific establishments. Here lived during the 
second half of the thirteenth century the famous astronomer Nassir-Eddin, for 
whom the Mongol khan Ilulagu built an observatory, which soon attracted students 



from all quarters. South-west of this point formerly stooda flourishing city, whose 
ruins still encircle the lakelel of Takht-i-Sulaiman. Here are the remains of a 
great fire-temple, which, with the neighbouring buildings, have been identified by 
Rawlinson with the ruins of the Median capital Ecbatana. A modern legend has 
convert i'd this place into the "Throne of Solomon," and in the north-east another 
hill is known as the Tn/;/i/-i-BaBchia, where the Queen of Saba is supposed to have 

Pig. 4". — IIaMADAN AM) MlUNT El.VKM). 

Scale 1 : 513,000. 


L . of breerivvicn 


- 12 Miles. 

reigned. Tn this district are some cuneiform inscriptions, and an "inscribed 
stone" invoked by the Kurds as a sort of living magician. 

Hamadan, the ancient Ecbatana or Agbatana, and the Hagmatana of the 
cuneiform inscriptions, appears at the very dawn of history as already a great city. 

A> the capital of an empire it was favourably situated at a time when the centre of 
gravity of [rania was moving westwards. Lying about midway between the 
Caspian and Persian Gulf, on the very border of the Median and Persian frontiers, 
it commanded the water-parting of the two basins, and all the passes leading over 
the border range into Mesopotamia and Babylonia. But of the ancient Ecbatana 
nothing now remains except heaps of ruins, amid which archaeologists seek in vain 



for the site of the famous citadel where the Median sovereigns deposited their 
treasures, and where Alexander accumulated such prodigious quantities of plunder. 
Nevertheless the past greatness of Ecbataua is still recalled by the Takht-Ardeshir, 
or "Throne of Artaxerxes," a terraced eminence near the hill which was formerly 
crowned by the central fortifications. Not far from the city are seen the remains 
of a lion carved out of a resonant block, and by the inhabitants regarded as a super- 
natural guardian of the city against cold and famine. A comparatively modern 
cupola is also held in great honour by the local Jews, who believe it to be the shrine 
of Esther and Mordecai. The Jewish community at Hamadan is the largest in 
Persia, comprising as many as one thousand families, but living in great misery. 

Fig. 48. — The Resonant Lion of Hamadan. 

" Beaten, despised, and oppressed, cursed even by slaves and children, they yet 
manage to exist, earning their living as musicians, dancers, singers, jewellers, silver 
and gold smiths, midwives, makers and sellers of wines and spirits. "When 
anything very filthy is to be done a Jew is sent for."* The celebrated Bokhariot 
physician Avicenna (Ibn Sina) lies buried in Hamadan. An abundance of good 
water is obtained from the springs and wells sunk to depths of over 300 feet at the 
foot of Elvend. But the proximity of this snowy peak, combined with the great 
altitude of the place (5,000 feet above sea level), and its northern aspect, render its 
climate excessively cold in winter. In summer, however, it is one of the most 
• Dr. C. J. Wills, "The Land of the Lion and Sun," page 74. 


agreeable residences in Persia, and the neighbouring vineyards yield an excellent 
red wine like Bordeaux, and ;i white compared by Bellew with Moselle. Except 
leather-dressing, harness-making, carpet-weaving and dyeing, there are im local 
industries, bul a considerable trade is carried on with Mesopotamia, and the bazaars 
are well supplied with wares of all kinds. Bamadan may be regarded as the 
capital nt' the western Turkomans, whose camping-grounds are dotted over the 
surrounding plains and valleys. 

Bast "I these pasture-lands, and on the very skirt of the desert, stands the holy 
city of h'niii (/vow), whose gilded dome surmounts the shrine of Fatima, sister of 
the imam Reza. Hither the Persian women Hock in thousands to obtain fecundity, 
domestic happiness, and beauty. Round about the central shrine are scattered 
" four hundred and forty-four " tombs of lesser saints, beyond which stretches a 
vast necropolis, occupied by the faithful who have had the happiness to die or be 
transported alter death to the holy city. Next to Meshed, Kttin ranks as the most 
venerated place of pilgrimage in Persia, although its reputation seems to have 
somewhat waned since the time of Churdin. Its trade and industries have also 
fallen off, and it is now little more than a vast ruin, resembling a city of the dead 
rather than the abode of the li\iii!_ r . 

Kashan, on the contrary, which occupies a central position in Irak-Ajemi, on 
the great highway between Teheran and Ispahan, is a very flourishing place, 
supplied with good water from the neighbouring hills, and surrounded by productive 
gardens, orchards, and cultivated tracts. But Kashan is chieriv famous as an 

industrial centre, litre has 1 n preserved the art of decorating mural surfaces 

with painted mosaics, and here are produced the finest velvets and brocades in 
Persia, besides porcelain, jewellery, cloth of gold and .silver, and other costly wares. 
From its position Kashan promises to become the centre of the future railway 
system of Persia. It already possesses the finest highways, next to those of Teheran, 
.■mil -nine ol the sumptuous caravanserais along these routes are maintained with 
the same care as in the days of their founder, Shah Abbas. From the same period 
dates the I!and-i-Kuh-rud, or " Dyke of the Mountain Torrent," one of the grandest 
works of general utility in Persia. 

The caravan road running from Ilamadan directly to Ispahan along the eastern 
foot of the bolder ranges is much less frequented than the main route from 
Teheran through Kashan to Ispahan. Till recently it was infested by the Bakli- 
tyari marauders, who were kept in awe by the stronghold of Suttanabad, itself a 
mere collection of wretched hovels, but the centre of one of the great carpet- 
weaving districts of Persia. The neighbouring hills yield an abundant supply 
of manna (geizingebin), a sweet substance secreted by a worm which lives on the 
foliage of a species of tamarind. ( hi the route running from Sultanabad south-east- 
wards to Ispahan follow the towns of Khun/tin, surrounded by vast ruins ; Qulpaigan, 
still supplied with water by a kanot excavated under Earun-ar-Rashid ; Khonsar, 
straggling for a space of 'i miles along both sides of the road ; Tihran and Nejefabad, 
with their cotton and tobacco plantations, beyond which a magnificent avenue of 
plane-trees leads to the historic city of Ispahan. 



But Ispahan (Isfahan, Isfahan.) is no longer "Half of the World," as it was 
formerly styled, in allusion to its superb edifices, teeming industries, and lovely 
surroundings. Most of the space within the enclosures, some 22 miles in circum- 
ference, is uninhabited, and the fox and jackal have their dens amid the ruins of 
its finest palaces, mosques, and bazaars. Yet Ispahan recovered from the blow 
inflicted on it by Tamerlane, who raised a pyramid of 70,000 heads of its slaughtered 
citizens, and in the seventeenth century it again became one of the great cities of 
the world during the reign of Shah Abbas. At that time it contained over 32,000 
houses, with a population variously estimated from 600,000 to 1,100,000, including 
the suburbs. In this entrepot of the Central Asiatic trade the great houses of 
England and Holland had their agents, and the Armenians possessed rich factories 
in the suburb of Julia, so named from the ruined city on the banks of the Arras. 

Fig. 49. — Ispahan and Environs. 
Scale 1 : 1,100,000. 

L . of tareenwicn 

30 Miles. 

The local industries were unrivalled throughout Irania, and the taste and skill of 
the native artists are still attested by the buildings dating from that period. But 
Ispahan was completely ruined by the subsequent disasters attending its siege and 
capture by the Afghans, the protracted civil wars of the eighteenth century, and 
the displacement of the capital on the accession of the Kajar dynasty. Yet 
although the slow work of revival lias been frequently interrupted by famine, its 
bazaars are again beginning to show signs of renewed trade, while its numerous 
looms continue to produce cottons, silks, and carpets in large quantities. Nor has 
its wealthy corporation of painters greatly degenerated since the time when 
thousands of artists were employed in decorating the palaces of Shah Abbas, lint 
it must be confessed that the modern art of Ispahan is less pure, less elegant and 
noble than that of the Seljuk and Mongol epochs from the eleventh to the thirteenth 


SOU*] ii-\vi-:sti:i:\ asia. 

century. Mosf of the pleaBure-grounda have been changed to plantations or 

kitchen-gardens, and the run- 


uin^r waters, formerly distri- 
buted in Fountains and other 
ornamental works, arc now 
confined to irrigating canals 
in the midst of vegetable and 
tobacco Holds. Hut the superb 
avenue, nearly '■'• miles long, 
leading to the Xeiideh-rud, or 

"River of Life," and crossing 

il with a noble bridge of thirty- 
four arches surmounted by an 
open gallery, still survives as . 
the chief glory of Ispahan. 
This bridge connects the city 
with tlie suburb of Julfa, 
which is still inhabited by the 
descendants of the Armenians 
whe migrated hither early in 
the seventeenth century. In 
this metropolis el' t he orthodox 

Armenians of Persia, India, and 

the extreme Last, they number 
not more than six hundred 
families ; but in the Feridun 
valley, to the north-west, seve- 
ral villages arc exclusively 
occupied by Armenians. Some 
of these communities, origin- 
ally from Georgia, have em- 
braced the Mohammedan reli- 
gion, but continue to speak the 
Georgian language. Ispahan 
is also the chief centre of the 
Jewish nationality in Persia. 
Here the Jews are more nume- 
rous than in any other city 
except Ilamadan, and in the 
bazaar hundreds of stalls be- 
long to them. 

The district of Ispahan is 
one of the best watered and mest productive on the Iranian plateau. Standing at 
an elevation of 1,7-Od enjoys a temperate climate suitable for the cultivation 

SHIRAZ. 137 

of sub-tropical plants, and here are successfully grown tobacco, opium, cotton, 
wine, vegetables of all sorts, and especially melons, said to be the best in Persia. 
Amid the cultivated grounds are scattered numerous ruins, hamlets, shrines, and 
picturesque pigeon-towers circular in form, from 20 to 27 feet high and sometimes 
GO feet in diameter. Dr. Wills tells us that he has counted cells for seven thousand 
one hundred pairs in a single tower, but that most of those near Ispahan are now 
in ruins. Amongst the mosques of the neighbourhood the most remarkable is 
that of Kuladiui, noted for its two " shaking minarets," whose vibrators- motion 
is attributed by the natives to the virtue of a saint buried under the intervening 
dome. But it is really caused by the wooden frame to which are attached the 
lightly-constructed towers, which are thus made to turn easily on an inner axis. 
A similar phenomenon is observed in a mosque at Bostam.* 

Although smaller than Ispahan, Shiraz is the capital of Farsistan, that is, of 
Persia in a pre-eminent sense, and its inhabitants are almost exclusively of Iranian 
stock. Shiraz is, moreover, the heir to the imperial capitals which succeeded each 
other in this region, and one of which was the world-famed Persepolis. Renowned 
for their wit, intelligence, and purity of speech, the Shirazi regard themselves 
as the representatives of the national culture, and impatiently submit to the 
sway of the Turkoman Kajar dynasty. Bab Ali-Mohammed, whose vaticinations 
endangered that dynasty, was a native of Shiraz, and in this place were gathered 
his first followers. In order to curb the unruly spirit of the people of Pars, the 
Persian Government garrisons their towns with Turki troops, national animosity 
thus helping to keep them in subjection. 

If less shady, the vegetation of Shiraz presents a more southern aspect than 
that of Ispahan. Descending to the plain by the Persepolis route, or from the 
IK nth-east, the traveller is suddenly arrested by the sight of the city with its 
avenues of cypresses, pleasant gardens, and glittering domes, enclosed by a back- 
ground of snowy mountains. Although still at an altitude of 4,000 feet, Shiraz, 
compared with those of the plateau, is already a southern city, and for the Iranians 
here begins the region of "hot lands." The transition from one zone to the other 
is indicated by the palm-trees dotted over the plain. "While Ispahan lies on the 
eastern slope of the border ranges, Shiraz is situated in the Ca?lo-Persis, or 
" Hollow Persia," of the ancients, that is, in one of the intermediate depressions 
between two parallel chains of the system, and its waters flow to a small basin with 
no seaward outlet. Towards the Persian Gulf it is completely defended by the 
regularly-disposed crests of the Tengsir, which might be easily held by a few 
regiments of resolute troops. But however favoured in many respects, Shiraz 
has many disadvantages, amongst which the most serious are a malarious climate 
in summer and frequent earthquakes of a violent character. In that of 1855 half 
the houses were overthrown, and ten thousand persons buried beneath their ruins. 

Shiraz is at present little more than a large village, with a circuit of less than 
4 miles, and no conspicuous buildings except its mosques. Its industries are 
restricted to jewellery, chiefly carried on by the Jews, exquisite marqueterie work 

* J. Dieulafoy, " Tour du Monde," 1883. 



in wood and ivory, rosewater of prime quality, and some trade. The local wine is 
bad, and even the nectar bo lauded by the native poets, which comee from a dis- 
trict 30 miles oft, is a heady perfumed drink at tirst disagreeable to the European 
palate. A small export trade is supported by the tobacco and other produce of 
the district ; bul as a station tor goods in transit Shiraz occupies an exceptional 
position at the converging-point of the routes from the Persian Gulf. Unfortu- 

Fig. 51.— Shiraz and Peksei'OUS. 
Scale 1 : T.-m.iKH). 


IS Mile*. 

nately all these routes are difficult and in bad repair, so thai traders show a 
preference for other roads, such as those of Kermanshah and Tabriz. 

I If the three most famous Persian poets, Hafiz, Sadi, and Pirdusi, the first two 
were natives of Shiraz, through which no Persian passes without visiting their 
tombs. On the marble slab which for five hundred years has covered the remains 
of Hafiz are inscribed two of his odes in gold letters. Near it was buried Rich, the 
famous explorer of Kurdistan. The monument of Sadi, author of the " Gulistan," 
lies farther off, near the village of Sadiyeh, so named from this delightful poet, 


than whom " no nightingale ever warbled sweeter notes in the garden of know- 
ledge." Near the tomb is a yawning chasm of artificial origin over 670 feet deep. 

The learned are unanimous in fixing the site of the ancient Persepolis and 
Istahhr, which lies on the Ispahan route some .'50 miles north-east of Shiraz. Here 
begins a chain of grey marble hills, which is continued south-eastwards along the 
now marshy Merv-Dasht plain, through which the Band-Emir winds its way to 
Lake Neris. A dam surmounted by a bridge of thirteen arches retains the waters 
of this river, deflecting them to the innumerable channels of the plain, above 
which rise the three isolated rocks of Istakhr. Here stood the famous city of 
Persepolis, where is still to be seen the finest ruin in Persia, a group of walls and 
columns locally known as the " Throne of Jemshid." From the cuneiform 
inscriptions engraved on the walls it appears that of the six palaces the largest 
was that of Xerxes, " king of kings, son of King Darius, the Aehemenide." But 
to judge from the unfinished state of the carvings and inscriptions, the builder 
woidd seem to have left his work incomplete. According to tradition it was 
destroyed by fire, no traces of which, however, can be detected on the marble 
surface, smoother and clearer, said Herbert in the seventeenth century, than any 
steel mirror. The faces of the winged bulls and all representations of the human 
figure have been effaced by Mohammedan iconoclasts, and although walls have 
also been overthrown and columns broken by the hand of time, the building still 
presents an imposing appearance. The square terrace on which it stands is still 
approached by a double flight of black marble steps, but of the seventy-two 
original shafts twelve only now survive with their capitals. Some of the sculp- 
tures and many details suggest Egyptian influences; but the graceful elegance of 
the whole attests the close relationship which at that time existed between 
Persian and Greek art. The architects of the palace of Xerxes had certainly seen 
the Hellenic temples of Ionia and the monuments of Lydia. At the foot of the 
neighbouring Naksh-i-Puistem hill are several bas-reliefs representing various 
events of the Sassanides dynasty. Of these the most remarkable is that of King 
Sapor generously extending his hand to the vanquished Emperor Valerian. 

According to most archa'ologists the tomb of Cyrus lies near the village of 
Meshed-i-Murghab, some 3G miles north-east of Persepolis. On this spot a large 
city certainly stood in the time of that monarch, whose image is carved on a pillar 
with the legend, "I Cyrus, king, the Achemenidc ! " A tomb, said by the natives 
to be that of Solomon's mother, and now bearing an Arabic inscription, is supposed 
by most travellers to be the monument of Cyrus, although it is still doubtful 
whether the plain of Meshed-i-Murghab be the ancient Pasargades, with which 
most archaeologists have till recently identified it ; for the inscription places this 
holy city much farther east in the province of Kirman, and not in an open plain 
but on the top of a hill. 

Jjarab (Darabjerd), lying 120 miles south-east of Shiraz, near the source of a 
stream flowing intermittently to the Persian Gulf, has also been identified with 
Pasargades, although no remains associated with the name of Cyrus have been 
found there. Nevertheless it is a very old place, and Firdusi makes it the scene 

1 in 


. >i many events in hifl mythical epic poem. Its name b said to mean " Enclosure 
of Dareb or Darius," and a neighbouring rock is embellished with a bas-relief of 
Valerian al the feel of Sapor, a subjecl which is met in so many other parts of 
Persia. Another ancient monument in the vicinity of Darab is an underground 
rock-temple with smooth walls unadorned by any carvings or statues. North of 
Darab lies the town of Niris, which gives its name to the largest lake in Far- 
Bistan, and which was recently one of the chief centres of the liabist sect. 

In Northern Farsistan, that is, on the plateau hcyond the hilly district, the 
only Large towns are Ababdeh, midway between Shiraz and Ispahan, and Kumkhvh, 
60 miles nearer to the latter place. Ababdeh is noted for wood-carvings, boxes, 
desks, chessmen, and the like, which compete even in North Persia with similar 

Fig, 62. — Valerian at the Feet of Sapor— ISas-uki.ief of the Hoval Tombs at Nakmi-i-Uustem, 


objects imported from Europe. North-west of Ababdeh an isolated crag 19 
crowned with the almost inaccessible stronghold of Yezdikhast, which can be 
approached only by an old drawbridge. In the hilly region skirting the desert 
between Kashan and Yezd the most important places are Xnin, a chief centre of 
the pottery industry, Kupa, one of the most flourishing towns on the plateau, 
Agda, Ardakan, and Maibut. 

l'<z</, which communicates with the rest of Persia only by caravan routes 
across the rocky or sandy plateaux, is a city of the desert, whose oasis, planted 
chiefly with mulberries, is everywhere surrounded by the wilderness. At some 
points the moving sands reach the very gates of the city, threatening to swallow 
up whole quarters, just as they have already destroyed the first city of Yezd, 


called also Ask izar, whose ruins are still visible on the route to Kashan, 10 miles to 
the north-west. But notwithstanding its isolated position on the plateau near the 
geometrical centre of Persia, Yezd is still a flourishing place, with numerous silk- 
weaving, spinning, dyeing, and other industries. The cocoons supplied by the 
surrounding oasis are insufficient for the local factories, and raw silk has to be 
imported from Ghilan, Khorassan, and even Herat. A large export trade is 
carried on beyond the frontiers with Mecca and other Arab cities, through Ma scat, 
and even indirectly with China, to which a yearly increasing quantity of opium is 
forwarded. This trade is almost entirely in the hands of a Guebre community, one 
of whose wealthy merchants owns as many as one thousand camels. The local 
population consists largely of Seyids, who claim descent from the prophet, and 
Yezd has been called the " City of Worship," a title which the inhabitants 
endeavour to justify by their extreme intolerance towards their Parai brethren. 

Along the south-eastern caravan route no towns or even villages occur till we 
reach Bahramabad, which is distant 120 miles from Yezd, and which owes its 
prosperity to its position in a fertile district at the junction of several highways. 
Opium and cotton are cultivated in the neighbom-hood, and farther north some rich 
lead mines are worked near Baghabad on the northern slope of the Nugat hills. 

Kirman, or Kerman, capital of one of the great provinces of Persia, has 
preserved the name of the Carmanes or Germanes mentioned by the old writers ; 
but, like Yezd, it has shifted its position. The remains of a vast city stretch away 
to the south ; other ruins are visible towards the west, while on the north side the 
suburb occupied by the Guebres was almost entirely destroyed at the end of the last 
century. The present Kirman fills an irregular square enclosure about 1,200 yards 
on all sides at the western foot of an eminence crowned by a ruined citadel. 
Standing at an elevation of over 6,500 feet, its climate is thoroughly continental — very 
cold in winter, oppressively hot in summer. The 12,000 Guebre families formerly 
settled in the district have been reduced by persecution and compulsory conversions 
to a small community of scarcely 1,500 souls. Kirman has also lost the reputation 
which it enjoyed in the time of Marco Polo for the manufacture of arms ; but it 
still continues to produce fine embroidery work and carpets, besides shawls, inferior 
in softness to those of Kashmir, but fully equal to them in delicacy of texture and 
design. In their preparation use is made of kark, or the down of goats, and this 
kark is exported to Amritsar, where it is mixed with the pashm of Tibet in 
manufacturing the fabrics for which that place is famous. 

Kirman is the last station in the south-east to which the European postal 
system extends. Beyond this point the venturesome traveller, passing from oasis 
to oasis, is excluded from all communication with the civilised world until he 
reaches the Baluchistan coast. The population itself consists almost exclusively of 
Baluch nomads, whose "towns" are merely places of refuge against marauders. 
Yet there is no lack of fertile tracts in the valleys, which Marco Polo found covered 
with towns, villages, and pleasure-houses. Some of the slopes even still present 
the spectacle, now rare in Persia, of extensive woodlands, and towards the south- 
east occur some really picturesque spots, such as the district surrounding the fine 


mosque of Milium (Mahun), and thai of Rat/in (Rayum\& large village lying in 
the midst of vineyards and walnut-groves. 

The largest place in east Eirman is Bam, which, like - any other Persian 

towns, lias shifted its site in recent times. It lies within the Germsir or "hot 
zone," the oranges, citrons, and palms of the surrounding oasis imparting to it a 

southern aspect. But thedesert a l resumes its sway, and from the station of JRigan 

to Bampur, for a distance <>t' ahoul P20 miles, many ruins but no inhabited houses 
arc met. Bampur itself, although the capital of Persian Baluchistan, is a mere 
group of about a hundred thatched huts crowded together a1 the foot of an artificial 
eminence crowned by a crumbling citadel. Eere are neither baths, school, nor 
mosque, scarcely even any cultivated lands, although the surrounding plain is very 
fertile and well watered by the river Bampur. 

Bampur is still distant ISO miles from the station of Menhkiil, through which 
runs the official frontier between Persia and the territory of the Khan of Kalat. 
But in the whole of this extensive region there are no towns, or even hamlets, 
beyond a few camping-grounds and forts, and even of these many are in ruins. 
Jalk, the " Desolate," which figures on the maps as the capital of a vast district, is 
merely a group of fortleta surrounded by cultivated ground and date-groves. On 
the western portion of the Mekran coast, politically included in Persia, the open 
ports of Khobar (Chaobar) and Jask have acquired sonic importance as stations of 
the telegraph system connecting London with Calcutta through Caucasia and 

Topograph? of South-west [rania. 

At the headland of Ras-el-Euh, 30 miles west of Jask, the coast-line trends 
northwards parallel with the Arabian peninsula of Cape Masandam, with which it 
forms the straits id' Ormuz, connecting the Persian Gulf with the Sea of Oman. 
Eere is situated the once famous port of Qambrun, or Kotnron, since the time of 
Shah Abbas known as Bandar- Abbas, where was formerly concentrated the whole 
foreign trade of Persia. Put its relative importance has been much diminished, 
partly by the difficulty of the routes leading over the intervening highlands to 
Shiraz, partly by the excessive heat and unhealthy climate of the seaboard, but 
especially by the displacement of the capital northwards. Shiraz now communi- 
cates with the rest of the world through Bushir; Ispahan and Eamadan transact 
their business chiefly overland with Bagdad, and the whole of northern Persia 
effects its exchanges with Europe through Tabriz or Enzeli. Thus the trade of 
Bandar-Abhas is now restricted mainly to Yezd and Kirman. Its so-called port is 
merely an open roadstead partly sheltered by the islands of Cishm, Larek, and 
Ormuz, and affording anchorage in 7 fathoms of water within a mile and a half of 
the coast. It is regularly visited by steamers, which take in cargoes of opium, 
dates, fish, the silks of Fezd, and carpets from Kirman. During the sultry summer 
heats, all who are not compelled to remain in the town retire to the neighbouring 
village of Suru, or to the large oasi- of Mimib, some 50 miles farther east, noted 



for its excellent dates, mangoes, pomegranates, almonds, oranges, and other fruits. 
Minab and the surrounding district of Maghistan do a considerable export trade in 
dates, cotton, and henneh through Bandar- Abbas, whose exchanges amounted in 
1877 to a total value of £ 314,000. 

In the time of Marco Polo the city of Hortnos, or Ormuz, then situated on the 
mainland, was the centre of a vast trade with every part of the East, receiving, 
especially from India, rich cargoes of spices, precious stones, pearls, ivory, silks, and 
cloth of gold. The site of the old city, still partly covered with ruins, has been 

Fig. 53. — Ormuz and Bandar-Abbas. 

Scale 1 : 500.000. 

Sands exposed at 
low- water. 


32 to 64 

64 to 160 

160 Feet and 

12 Miles. 

discovered on the banks of the Minab some 6 miles south-west of the fort now 
standing in the centre of the oasis. After its destruction by the Mongols, Ormuz 
was rebuilt on a little island of almost circular form within 4 miles of the coast. 
It was captured by Albuquerque at the beginning of the sixteenth century, and 
soon became a great mart for the trade of the Portuguese with the East. The city 
stood on the side of the island facing the mainland, where is still found a little 
village with a Portuguese fortress in a good state of repair. Palaces and churches 
were scattered over the island, whose highest summit (650 feet) was crowned by 

1 11 sn IT 1 1 AY KSTKKN ASIA. 

the chapel of Nostra Senhora de la Penha. Now the place ezporte Dothing hut 
.Mime Balt-fiah, ochre, and suit, collected after the rains from the salt-hills of the 


The large island of Kishm, or Tawilah, which stretches west of ()nnuz parallel 
with the Persian coast, seems to have at one time Formed part of the mainland, 
from which it is separated only by a navigable channel from 2 to 6 miles wide, 60 

long, and nowhere less than 20 feet deep. There is good anchorage at Left, in the 
middle of the channel ; but notwithstanding its excellent position between two seas, 
and (dose to Arabia and Persia, this rocky and arid island exports nothing except 
some fruits, salt, and sulphur. At its western extremity the English founded the 
military station of Btaiduh [BaSSddoreX to command the entrance of the Persian 
Gulf; but the place had to be abandoned owing to the want of water and the 
intolerable summer heats. During this season mosl of the natives themselves seek 
a refuge amid the groves of Minah, and the sulphur and salt mines are worked by 
the Arabs only for five months in the year. 

Efenjam, which is separated by a channel 1 J mile wide from the southern point 
of Kishnu, had also been designated as a future station of the British navy ; hut 
the project had to he given up for the same reasons that led to the abandonment of 
Kishm. Vet this island was at one time densely peopled. Thousands of stone 
houses, besides numerous cisterns faced with an indestructible cement, are scattered 
over the depressions, while the remains of cultivated terrace-lands are still visible 
on the slopes. At the northern extremity stand the ruins of a large city with two 
mosques. But at present the population is reduced to two hundred Arab families, 
originally from Sharjah on the llman coast, now occupied chiefly with the pearl 
fishery off the south side. In the interior the rocks consist largely of salt, streaked 
in yellow, red, and green by the presence of foreign element--. 

Linjah. the first station for steamers entering the Persian Gulf, is a straggling 
\ illuge 2 or 3 miles long, commanded on the north by a hill 4,000 feet high. The 
anchorage is better than at Bandar- Abbas, and the port owns about one hundred 
ami fifty craft, some of which are engaged in the pearl fishery. West of Linjah 
the village of Charak marks the site of Sir/if', a large and flourishing place in the 
ninth century. Put it lost all its trade after its capture by the Arab chief of Kais, 
a small island 20 miles to the south-west, which gradually became the centre of the 
trade and shipping of the Persian Gulf. The ruins of a large Arab city are still 
visible on the north side of Kais, where the English founded a now abandoned 
military station in the present century. Beyond Charak the small harbours of 
Bandar-Nakhl, Bandar-Biaaitin, and Bandar-Kongun, are visited only by Arab 

The south-western seaboard of Persia is known only through the reports of 
travellers who have traversed one or other of the routes between Shiraz and 
Bandar-Abbas. The northern route, crossing at considerable elevations the crests 
of the transverse ridges, passes through Darab, Forg, and Turin/, while the southern 
runs through Jarun (Yarun) to Lar, ancient capital of Parisian. This State 
stretched formerly along the whole of the coast region, from the Bahrein Islands in 


the Persian Gulf to the islet of Diu on the west coast of India. In the sixteenth 
century the silver coins of Lar, shaped like a date-stone, were the chief currency 
throughout Persia. But after seizing the maritime routes, Shah Abbas overthrew 
the kingdom of Laristan, whose capital has even ceased to be a provincial chief 
town. Nevertheless it still maintains a considerable local trade, and claims to 
produce the finest camels aid dates in Persia. It contains no monuments of its 
past greatness ; but Firuzabad, a group of villages lying midway between Shiraz 
and the coast, abounds in rock carvings representing battle scenes, and a neigh- 
bouring headland is crowned by a ruined temple dating from pre-Mohammedan 

Bushir, or Bandar- Bushir, the present terminus on the Persian Gulf of the most 
frequented highway on the Iranian plateau, dates only from the time of Nadir Shah, 
who founded a naval station on this site, the nearest on the coast to Shiraz. liushir, 
that is, Abu-Shahr, or " Father of Cities," had been preceded by Rishehr, another 
commercial centre, whose position is still marked by a ruined Portuguese fort. 
But nearly the whole of the maritime trade of Persia is now concentrated at Bushir, 
which nevertheless offers none of the conditions indispensable to a good harbour. 
It lies at the northern extremity of a long island, now connected with the main- 
land, north of which stretches a semicircular bay obstructed by islets and sand- 
banks, and scarcely 4 feet deep at low water. Large vessels anchor 5 or 6 miles 
off the port, while smaller craft are able to round the headland and penetrate east 
of the city to a basin over 20 feet deep in some places. The exports consist of 
wine, tobacco, and especially opium for the Chinese market, taken in exchange for 
sugar from Batavia and European wares of all sorts. The total value of the 
exchanges was estimated in 1880 at about £720,000, yielding a revenue of £"24,000. 

On the route connecting Bushir and Barasjan with Shiraz the chief station is 
Kaserun, which stands at an altitude of 2,!'.">0 feet, in one of the intervening 
valleys between the parallel Tengsir ranges. Here begins Irania proper, both as 
regards climate and population, the lower coast region of Dashtistan being con- 
sidered by the Persians as already forming part of Arabia. Kazerun, formerly 
a flourishing place, is now a mere village surrounded by ruins, and noted only for 
its tobacco and horses. Some 18 miles farther north lie the extensive ruins of 
Shapur or Sapor, former residence of the Sassanides. The surrounding district is 
described by Ouseley as one of the " paradises of Asia," and nowhere else in 
Persia are there found so many rock carvings. On the eminence crowned by the 
acropolis, and on the face of the rocks encircling the valley, the great deeds of 
Sapor, his hunting-parties, victories, and solemn audiences, are described in a 
whole series of rich bas-reliefs, which acquire additional interest from the types 
and costumes of Romans, Arabs, Persians, and Hindus, all faithfully reproduced 
in these monumental records. 

Other ancient remains, sculptured rocks, fire-altars, citadels, are scattered 
over the Tengsir district in the south-east towards Firuzabad, and in the north- 
east towards Ram Jlormuz and Babaltan (Hebe/iait). In some localities the strong- 
holds suggest a social state analogous to the mediaeval feudalism of the "West. 

l 16 


Every rocky eminence is ^ i ill crowned with the ruins of these crumbling castles, 
which axe mostly associated in the local legends with the memory of the goddess 

In the northern region watered by the head-streams of the Little Zal> and 
Diyalah, and included in the relatively unimportanl province of Axdilan, the only 

noteworthy places arc the picturesque town of llnmi. perched "ii a wooded height 

between two cultivated glens, and the modern city of Snum [SihnahX residence 

id' a governor of the Iranian Surds, and surrounded by numerous Ne.storiail 

Fig. J4.— Bi'sinu. 
Scale 1 : 400.000. 


Quicksands. to 16 Feet. 16 to 32 !■'< 1 1 32 to 80 Feet 

90 St el and 

. Miles. 

(Chaldean) communities and nomad Ali-Allalii tribes. Here the Mohammedan 
population of the slopes draining to the Mesopotamian basin is exclusively Sunnite, 
the border chain forming a distinct parting-line between the two religious sects of 
Persia and Turkey. 

Kongaver (Ghenjater\ one of the first stations on the historic route from 
Ecbatana through the valley of the Eerkha ( h'erkhara or Kara-Su) down to 
Babylonia, lies in a Fertile and well-watered plain at the foot of an eminence 
bearing a marked resemblance to the Acropolis of Athens. Here also stood 



a fortified citadel, which was originally a temple dedicated to Anahid, the Persian 
Artemis, but now a crumbling mass of picturesque ruins. In the middle of 
the plain stands an isolated mound, possibly of artificial origin, which is also 
covered with ancient remains, supposed to be those of a temple of the sun. Below 
Kongaver, the waters flowing from Mount Elvend effect a junction with the 
Gamas-ab, in whose upper valley lies Nehavend, the "City of Noah," famous 
in the annals of Islam for the " victory of victories " here gained by the Caliph 
Omar over Yezdijerd, last of the Sassanides. Below the confluence the main 
stream enters a gloomv defile, at the northern extremity of which stands the hill 
and village of Bittufun, which have become famous in the history of Eastern 
archaeology. No monument has been more useful than the rock, inscriptions 

Fig. 55.— Kermanshah. 
Scale 1 : 800,000. 

or breenwien 



12 Miles. 

discovered at this spot, which have contributed so much to the decipherment of the 
Persian and Assyrian cuneiform writings. Thanks to the labours of Grotefend, 
Rawlinson, and Burnouf, a revolution in the study of ancient history has been 
effected at Bisutun, analogous to that which followed the discovery of Sanskrit and 
Zend in the last century. 

The rock of Bisutun, or Behistun, the ancient Baghiaian, rises to a vertical 
height of 1,500 feet above the surrounding pastures. At its foot springs a copious 
sparkling stream, above which the surface is covered with bas-reliefs almost 
effaced, not so much by time as by the monarchs who caused their triumphs to be 
successively carved over the previous sculptures. •Other figures still higher 
up are accompanied by some inscriptions now almost illegible. But the famous 
table, which has been studied with so much care, still exists almost intact. For a. 


space of about L50 Eeel horizontally l>y 100 in height the surface has been 
smoothed and polished, and here King Darius, son of Hystaepes, has caused 
some thousand 1 i 1 1 « — to be inscribed, relating in Persian, Median, and Assyrian 
his rictorj over Babylon and the vows made by him on his return. At the foot of 
the rucks are visible the remains of a terrace bj which visitors were enabled 
to approach the monument ; but no trace can now be seen of the sculptures 
mentioned by Ctesias, and by him attributed to Semiramis. 

The same escarpments which bear the Bisutun inscriptions are continued 
westwards, and north-east of Kennanshah take the name of Tak-i-Bostan, or" Roof 
of the Gardens," a name recalling the hanging gardens that have been attributed 
to a legendary princess. Immediately above the plain two chambers have been 
hewn out of the rock, and these dale from tbe Sassanido epoch, as is evident from 
the style of the sculptures, and the Pehlvi inscriptions deciphered bj Silvester de 
Sacy. The hunting-scenes on the walls are executed with a vigour and purity of 
style unapproached by any similar works of ancient Persia. They are obviously 
due to the Greek artists living at the Court of tbe Sassanides, 

Kermamhah, which lies in a fertile plain a few miles from Tak-i-Bostan, was a 
very small place at the end of the last century, lint since then it has Income one 
of tbe first cities in Persia, as capital of the Kurdistan province, which has been 
raised almost to a State within the State by Ali-Mirza, son of the Shah Fat'h-Ali. 
At that time officers from every European nation, and amongst them the 
illustrious Rawlinson, lather of modern Persian geography and history, resided 
at Kennanshah, where they founded arsenals and factories of small-arms. Artisans 
wen- also attracted from Persia, Turkey, and Armenia; hut since those flourisbing 
times the lily has again diminished in population and prosperity. In the vicinity 
is the camping-ground of tbe Suamani, which tribe supplies most of the dancing- 
girls in 1'ersia. 

Farther on, the great historical route between [rania and Mesopotamia leaves 
the Kerkha on the south, and runs direct to Kirind, rally ing-point of several 
Kurdish tribes. Beyond this place the road traverses a hilly district, gradually 

ascending to the crest of the Zagros chain, tbe natural parting-line between 
the Iranian plateau and the Mesopotamian plains. Throughout its lower course 
from Kennanshah to the Euphrates the Kerkha (lows by no large town, and 
in the whole basin the only place of any consequence is Khorramabad, which 
occupies a romantic position on the torrent of like name. Above it rises an 
isolated rocky eminence, which is encircled by a double rampart, and crowned by 
a hue palace, gardens, and extensive reservoir. of this point runs a line of ruined cities parallel with the border range 
between the plateau and Mesopotamian lowlands. Amongst these are Sirwan, on 
a western affluent of the Kerkha, Rudbar,&\ the junction of the Kerka and Kirind, 
and farther south Siimartih, or Shekr-i-Khllxrti, that is, "City of Chosroes," whose 

is still marked by the remains of a vast palace known as the "Throne of 
Chosroes." But of all the ruins of this region none are more famous than those of 
Sttsa [Shus), win nee the whole country often takes the name of Susiana. This 



renowned old capital was conveniently situated on the river Dizfal, a tributary of 
the Karun, not far from its junction with the Kerkha. The intervening plain, 
some 9 miles broad, is intersected by numerous irrigating rills derived from both 
rivers, and by the Shapur or Shahwer, a navigable natural channel, which runs 
from above Susa south-east to the Karun. The grassy mounds marking the site 
of the ancient city occupy a space some 6 or 7 miles in circumference, and are 

Fig. 56 — Shustek and ISand-i-Kik. 
Scale 1 : 530,000. 


[ .ofGrecnmch 48*50 

IS Miles. 

commanded by a square platform over half a mile on all aides, on which formerly 

stood the citadel. Xorth-west of this terrace is an artificial eminence 165 feet 
high, marking the spot where the strongest ramparts of the acropolis had been 
constructed. But beyond a few scattered capitals, broken shafts, and carved 
blocks, nothing survives to attest the ancient splendour of Susa. The plan, 
however, has been traced of the great palace begun by Darius, finished by 



Artaxerxes Rfnenon, and resembling the "Throne of Jemshid" al Peraepolis. 
The black slal> bearing a bilingual inscription in hieroglyphics and cuneiform 
characters, and by the natives regarded as a talisman or protector of tin- country, 
has unfortunately beeo destroyed. 

The river Dizful, chief affluenl of the Karun, rises in one of the longitudinal 
upland valleys between the parallel border ranges, flows south-east towards 
Burujird, and alter successively piercing all the rocky ridges of Laristan, enters 
the plains at Dizful. Such is the rugged character id' this region that the solitary 
track connecting Burujird with Dizful is not everywhere accessible to pack 

animals. l)i/l'ul, which lies in the vicinity of Susa, may lie regarded as the heir 
of that great city. The river is intermittently navigable to this point by small 

Fig. 57. — The Dam of Aiiwa/.. 
Scale 1 : 21,000. 



E.of.Gr. -S8M5 'SO' 

W 16' 

1,100 Yards. 

craft, which here take in Cargoes of wool, cotton, indigo, corn, bitumen, and 
sulphur from the surrounding districts. The local industries are also flourishing, 
and the neighbouring marshes yield the best reed pens in the Mast. At present 
Dizful, the "Manchester" of Khu/istan, is the largest city in the Persian low- 
lands. North-east of it stands the famous K<ilch-diz, or " Rock Castle," so named 
from a natural crag ascended by means of ladders, ropes, and steps cut in the rock. 
This natural stronghold is the residence of a Bakhtyari chief, who cultivates the 
upper plateau, and owns some flocks of sheep directly descended from a wild stock. 
Shutter, or the "Little Susa," on the Karun, was the tirst city of Arabistan 
before the plague of 1 832. Since that fatal year, when it was almost depopulated, 
it has again revived. It has the advantage of lying at the entrance of vast and 


fertile plains on a river which, if not easily navigable, is at least accessible to 
small vessels. It also marks the western terminus of the route which must sooner 
or later run across the Bakktyari country in the direction of Ispahan. The 
hydraulic works needed to make Shuster a riverain port are very slight compared 
with those executed in the third century of the new era by King Sapor, possibly 
under the direction of his imperial prisoner, Valerian. One of the old embank- 
ments still bears the name of Band-i-Kaisar, or " The Emperor's Dyke." At a 
sudden bend of the river above the city a cutting was made in the sandstone cliff 
on the left bank, and the canal thus formed has gradually taken, under the name 
of the Gerger, the aspect of a natural stream, with its windings, its alluvial 
deposits, and oscillations of level. Its two branches, which are again united below 
the cutting, enclose an island converted by the irrigating works into a vast 
garden. Most of these extensive undertakings have remained in good condition 
for fifteen hundred years, and attest a knowledge of hydraulics far beyond the 
capacity of the modern Persian engineers. 

At Band-i-kir the Karun is joined by the Gerger and Dizful (Ab-i-Diz), and 
the united stream flows thence south to the Shat-el-Arab. Atucaz, near the reefs 
and remains of a dyke which present the only obstacle to the navigation of the 
Lower Karun, is now a mere village, lost amid the ruins and tombs of an ancient 
city. But lower down it has been supplanted by the town of Mohammerah, which 
stands on a tongue of land between the Karun and Euphrates. This riverain port 
has the advantage of lying nearer to the Persian Gulf than Bassorah, and, more- 
over, communicates with the sea through the Bamushir Channel, which lies 
entirely within Persian territory, and which formed the chief arm of the Karun 
before that river joined the Shat-el-Arab. 

Social State. — Trade. — Industries. — Administration. 

No people can be said to excel the Persians in natural intelligence and shrewd- 
ness, in mental capacity and artistic skill ; j r et their present influence over the 
rest of Asia is scarcely perceptible. To ages long past must be referred the origin 
of those intellectual movements which introduced Persian ideas into the religions 
and philosophies of the West, and which enabled the language, literature, and 
industries of Irania to play so great a part in India and throughout the whole 
Mussulman world. But since then the pure Persian stock has been reduced in 
numbers relatively to the other inhabitants of the Iranian plateau, India, and 
Hither Asia, Even since the beginning of the present century, while the 
population of Caucasia has increased considerably, that of Persia has been still 
further diminished by civil wars, pestilence, famine, Baluch, Kurd, and Turkoman 
invasions. Although there are fewer disorders than in West Europe, epidemics 
are always of a deadly character, Persia in this respect resembling mediaeval 
Europe. Leprosy still exists in the Khamseh district between Kasvill and Tabriz; 
in Luristan nearly all the inhabitants except the negro slaves sutler from the 
" Aleppo button " or the " Medina worm," and in Dardistan at least every third 



person is affected by ophthalmia. The country is frequently wasted by pestilence, 
which seems generally to originate in the Azerbaijan highlands. It firs! attacks 
the nomad Kurdish tribes, passing From them to the settled communities, and 
spreading thence southwards, invariably towards the river mouths. But no 
calamity is more dreaded than famine, which rages chiefly in the large towns and 
in the insufficiently watered districts of the plateau. 

Besides these evils, the almost total absence of international highways has 
naturally tended to diminish the influence oi Persia over the surrounding popula- 

Fig. 58. — Range ok the Pi. ague in Ki hdistan. 
Scale 1 : 1,400,000. 


- y~ 

i- Jflk£ V '^L, 

1 « jj«. w " 

: X A 




- - 



i. I» 



• °" • " 



' * /**■ 


SO Miles. 

tions. The whole region comprised between Tabriz and Bampur, between Sinister 
and Meshed, might he suddenly effaced without in the least affecting the general 
movement of the peoples between East and Wesl Asia. The great migrations 
which Formerly passed along this route from continent to continent have been 
entirely arrested. The expeditions and conquests of Nadir Shah, followed by the 
advance and final retreat of the Afghans, are the last events that recall the ancient 
importance of Irania as a land of transition between the eastern and western 


peoples. So far from occupying this position, it is at present itself hemmed in, so 
to say, between two new routes, a northern opened up by the Russians across the 
Kirghiz and Turkoman steppes, and the southern oceanic highway, now regularly 
followed by the deep-sea and coasting steamers. 

The agricultural element represents scarcely two-thirds of the whole population, 
while the land actually under cultivation is certainly less than one-fifth of the 
empire. This restricted space is moreover almost exclusively in the hands not of 
the peasantry but of large proprietors. Vast tracts form part of the royal domain, 
and are tilled by a class little removed from the condition of mere serfs. Other 
lands of still greater extent, but mostly lying fallow, have lapsed, either through 
confiscation or conquest, to the Crown, which usually cedes them temporarilv to 
Court favourites or creditors. Amongst the great landowners must also be included 
the mosques, schools, and religious foundations of all sorts, whose possessions 
expand from year to year, not only through legacies, but also through secret 
concert with public functionaries, who avoid the total sequestration of their estat* is 
by bequeathing them to the Church in return for a fixed life annuity. The whole 
country was threatening to become a vast wakuf, or " mortmain," when Xadir- 
Shah deprived the mosques of a large portion of their immovable property. But 
the evil has since then become as bad as ever, and the question now arises whether 
a similar measure of spoliation may not soon be again called for for the public 
good. The private estates of any size are usually rented to farmers, who receive 
the water for irrigation, the seed, and stock in exchange for two-thirds or three- 
fourths of the produce. But when the conditions become oppressive beyond 
further endurance, the tenants will occasionally conclude the contract by firing 
their huts, felling the timber they have planted, and removing elsewhere in search 
of some less cruel taskmaster. According to Stack, no trace remains of the com- 
munal system still surviving in India, although he speaks of village communities 
which annually allot the neighbouring sabra or plain according to the number of 
available ploughs, each plough — that is, each head of a family— receiving a share. 

Agricultural property is subject to a fixed impost of one-fifth, which is vigor- 
ously exacted under all circumstances. When the country is ravaged by locusts, 
or the crops destroyed by long droughts, utter ruin overtakes the peasant unable to 
pay the taxes. Then arise those widespread famines which sweep away whole 
communities, and convert flourishing cities into wildernesses. Dry winters, leaving 
the hillsides bare or without a thick mantle of snow, are followed by hot summers, 
during which the mountain torrents become exhausted and the underground 
galleries remain without water. Nevertheless some provinces, especially in the 
north-west and on the Caspian seaboard, are favoured by a sufficiently copious rain- 
fall to render them independent of artificial irrigation. But here as elsewhere 
agriculture is still in a rudimentary state, field operations being carried on with the 
most primitive implements, although much skill is shown in the use of the hoe, 
with which the gardens and orchards are carefully cultivated. 

Cereals arc the staple crop in the western provinces from Tabriz to Ilamadau 
and Kermanshah, which in good years yield sufficient corn to support a small 


ezporl trade to Mesopotamia and Caucasia. Bui owing to the difficulties of trans- 
port, most of the superfluous grain remains unsold. When .Napier visited the 
province of Ardilan, aboul 80,000 tons of wheat thus remained undisposed of in the 
Cermanshah district alone. Besides wheat, rice grown only in the Caspian 
provinces, and a species <>f millet used for a coarse kind of bread, barley is the 
only cereal cultivated, and this, in the absence of oats, is reserved exclusively for the 
horses. All the European vegetables are known in Persia, and some, such as 
onions and cucumbers, are consumed to an enormous extent. Fruits also constitute 
one of the chief resouroes of the country. The melons and pistachio-nuts are of 
prime quality, and the vine, which grows in I be upland valleys from 'J, (MM) to (J, 000 
feet above sea level, yields excellent raisins, which, under the name of kishmish, are 
exported to Russia and India. Apricots and other fruits, dried or preserved, are 
also forwarded in yearly increasing quantities to Russia. The apple, pear, plum, 
and cherry are inferior to the European varieties ; but the peach is highly esteemed, 
and was supposed to have originated in Irania until M. de Candolle showed that 
China was more probably its true home. 

Amongst the industrial plants a foremost rank is taken by the mulberry, culti- 
vated both for its fruit and as food for the silkworm. The raw material is partly 
used in the factories of Tabriz, Keshan, and Yezd, and partly exported through 
Trans-Caucasia to Europe. Bui since the silkworm disease first appeared in the 
province of Ghilan in L864, the crop has been reduced to a third. Flax is little 
cultivated, and hemp used only in the preparation of hashish. But cotton is 
extensively grown throughout the western provinces, and aa far north as Azerbeiian, 
where the temperature is too low for the American varieties. The southern dis- 
tricts, and especially Laristan, yield henna, and a tine quality of tobacco, since the 
Crimean War well known throughout the East. But in recent times no industry 
has been developed so rapidly as that of opium, which is grown especially in 
Yezd and Ispahan, and which already threatens to become a formidable rival of 
the Indian narcotic in the Chinese market.* Nearly all Persians have acquired the 
habit of taking a little every day, and even give it to their horses. [Jut it is seldom 
taken in excess, as is too often the case with hashish. Whilethe cultivation of the 
poppy is extending, that of the sugar-cane is diminishing, the plantations at 
Ahwaz, Shapur, and other cities in the Karun basin and on the rivers of Farsistan 
having already disappeared. Persia, where the art of refining sugar seems to 
have been invented in the tenth century, now imports this product from France 
and Java. 

Tie- nomad element is relatively more numerous than before the Mohammedan 
invasion. With the Arab conquest came many powerful tribes, which retained on 
the plateau their wandering habits. Then other hordes of Turks, Turkomans, 
Kurds, and Ualuches were uttracted by the local troubles, and the territory 
occupied by them was constantly enlarged at the expense of the cultivated lands. 
The displacement of whole communities from one province to another caused many 

• Exports of opium from the Persian Gull' in 1872, 872 chests, value £71,000; in 1880, 7,700 chests, 
value £847,000. 


families to adopt nomad habits who had for generations led a sedentary life. The 
tyranny and exactions of the provincial rulers also drove many to become 
marauders, rovers, or mendicants. On the whole these nomads contribute nothing 
to the national resources, except as stock-breeders. Their flocks are numerous 
enough to supply the wants of the whole nation, which lives almost exclusively on 
mutton. They also yield considerable quantities of wool, while from the goats is 
obtained the soft fleece used in the manufacture of the exquisite Kirmanian shawls. 
Camel-hair, which in spring falls off in large tufts, is also collected for the prepara- 
tion of felts. The nomads own few horses, but many mules and asses, used chiefly 
as pack-animals. They leave all the industries to the women, who weave mats, 
coarse carpets, and rugs for the surrounding markets. 

For many ages the industrial processes have undergone but little change, and real 
attempts to introduce factories like those of the West have completely failed. But 
the growing taste for European wares is gradually causing the native industries to 
disappear. At present the Russian dealers are the chief gainers by this displacement. 
Till the middle of the present century the bazaars were stocked mainly with 
English goods; but Russian competition has already monopolised the trade of the 
northern provinces, leaving to the British dealers only a narrow zone round about 
Bushir. As in Afghanistan and Asia Minor, the commercial as well as the 
political predominance of the Russians is becoming daily more evident, and the 
geographical conditions are so favourable to them that their British rivals can 
scarcely hope to recover the lost ground. The Russian domain is conterminous 
with that of Persia, all along the line from Trans-Caucasia round the Caspian sea- 
board to the Turkestan steppes, while the approaches to the plateau from the north, 
through Tabriz, Reshd, Barfrush, and Astrabad, are much easier than those open to 
the English from the ports of the Persian Gulf. Here the rugged track leading 
from Bushir up to Shiraz is carried over no less than six difficult passes. 

The invasion of the native markets by foreign wares has brought about, if not 
the ruin, at least the decadence of the national industries. Certainly Persia no 
longer possesses so many skilful artisans as at the time when Chardin visited the 
bazaars of Ispahan, and the finer qualities of earthenware have almost totally 
disappeared from the manufacturing centres. Nevertheless some of the old trades 
still flourish, and the traditions of the local schools of art have nowhere been 
entirely forgotten. Great skill is shown in damascene work, and the wrought steel 
and copper articles, chased with the graver, or embellished with silver, continue to 
excite the admiration of foreigners. Admirably-tempered swords are produced in 
Khorassan, and the arsenals under European management turn out excellent small- 
arms and even rifles. Inventors of the narghili, the Persians, and especially the 
natives of Ispahan and Shiraz, still make the best kalians, which they enrich with 
gold and silver chased work encrusted with precious stones. Although nearly all 
the cotton stuffs, whether plain or printed, come from Europe, many still prefer the 
stout kerbas or kalemkars embellished with hand-printed flowers and arabesques. 
Nor have the coarse woollen fabrics of the Turkomans and Kurds been completely 
driven from the field by the German and Polish cloths. The local felts ornamented 


with figures and inscriptions also continue to be unrivalled. The hrocadcs and 
velvets of rlashan, as well a^ certain silk fabrics of Yezd, are highly esteemed, while 
the carpets of Barman arc universally celebrated for their combined solidity 
and lightness of texture, exquisite design, and harmony of colour. In this branch 
the native craftsmen have nothing to learn from Europeans, who, <>u the contrary, 
copy their work without attaining equally the variety and graceful symmetry of their 
figures. Unfortunately weaving is carried on in Ve/d, Kashan, and Barman under 
extremely unhealthy conditions. Owing to the excessive dryness of the air, the 

artisans arc obliged tn work in underground places, where the elasticity of the 
threads is preserved by the moisture produced by vessels kept constantly full of 
water. They are also very badly paid, those of Ye/d receiving on an average not 
more than sevenpence a day. A shawl worth £40 will occupy three hands for a 
whole year, and their earnings will amount to scarcely t'lti altogether. 

The capital being situated near the Caspian, and receiving most of its supplies 
from that basin and Trans-Caucasia, nearly all the numerous new routes recently 
projected have reference to the north-western region between Teheran and the 
Russian frontier. But the formal concessions for railways have all been cancelled, 
partly no doubt owing to the fear of future invasions. As soon, however, as the 
Trans-Caucasian system has Keen completed and connected with that of European 
Russia, it will be impossible any Longer to prevent the locomotive from penetrating 
southwards into the Iranian plateau. The physical obstacles are no doubt serious, 
and some elevated passes will have to be surmounted in order to reach Teheran. 
Hut modern engineers have elsewhere overcome far greater difficulties, and the 
plateau once gained, it will be easy to extend the system to all the more important 
cities of [rania. It might be possible even to continue it to British India across 
settled districts throughout its whole course. Stations like Shah-rud, Isishapur, 
Herat, Farah, Kandahar would supply a local traffic such as would be totally 
lacking to any line running farther north through tin steppes and sands of Asiatic 

Another line has been proposed to run from Bagdad up the Divalah river valley 
to Khanikin, on the Turko-Persian frontier, and thence through the Holwan valley, 
the old " royal route" of Alexander. 15ut the costly nature of the works required 
to carry the rails across the border ranges and up the slopes of the plateau must 
for a long time prevent the execution of this scheme. What is here more urgently 
needed is the conversion of the present mountain-tracts into carriage-roads running 
from Bagdad to Eamadan by the already mentioned " royal route," from Shuster to 
Ispahan, from Iiushir and Bandar-Abbas through Shiraz to Barman. "But," say 
the natives, " the Europeans would have no roads if they had horses like ours." 
and so nothing is done to improve the local lines of communication. The only 
route hitherto opened for wheeled traffic is that running from Teheran to Kasvin, 
along the line of the Russian telegraph-lines. 

The whole trade of the country is carried on by caravans, which radiate from 
the cities of the interior to Erzerum, liagdad, and other marts beyond the frontier. 
In the west goods are transported by mules across the rugged border chain, but 



camels are chiefly employed on the tracts traversing the relatively level plateau 
and eastern districts. The convoys often consist of several hundred pack-animals 
following in single file the lead of some well-trained horse, and, owing to the great 
heat, marching usually at night. Journeys of 18 to 20 miles are thus performed 
by the light of the Btars, and along the sixteen main routes known as " the Shah's 
highways," stations are established at regular intervals for the service of the post 
and the accommodation of men and beasts in vast caravanserais. Nearly all these 

Fig. 59. — Routes and Telegraph-lines in Persia. 

Scale 1 : 15,000,000. 

Bokhara . 


L . of (jreenwicn 

Projected railways. 
Postal routes. 

Principal caravan routes. 

--* Telegraphs. 
urf. Navigable rivers. 

3CH > Miles. 

structures, some of which are not lacking in architectural pretensions, date from 
the time of Shah Abbas. But since then they have never been repaired, and they 
are now often rendered inaccessible by heaps of refuse. Most of the bridges 
erected by the same sovereign have become too dangerous for use, and the paved 
causeways here and there crossing the quagmires are also carefully avoided. Bu< 
time is of little value in Persia, and if the roads are difficult it costs little to travel 
at a slow pace. The route between Teheran and Reahd, the most frequented in 
the country, usually takes about seven days, although only L80 miles long. The 


journey from Teheran to Buahir occupies one month, to Bandar-Abbas forty days, 
to tin- Baluch frontier beyond Baxnpur two months. 

The foreign trade of Persia is estimated altogether at some L'i >,<»<><>, 000. A fixed 
in i] ii >st of five percent, is levied on all goods imported and exported. Bui to this tax, 

the only one imposed on foreigners, octroi and excise dues are added for the natives. 

By this eccentric fiscal arrangemenl the European traders are •• protected " againsl 
their Persian competitors. In the interior the commercial relations are expanding 
from year to year, as attested by the steady increase of the telegraphic business. 
Beside the Anglo-Indian system, which crosses Persian territory from Tabriz to 
Bushir, the Govemmenl has laid down a network of wires between all the large 
cities, the total mileage amounting in 1881 to over 3,000 miles. Must of the heads 
of the telegraph-offices are members of the royal family. 

Public molality necessarily stands on a low level in a country where divorce is 
so frequent that temporary unions for periods of twenty-live days and even less are 
regularly sanctioned by the mullahs. Few women reach their twenty-fourth year 
without having had two or three husliands. The least liable to be divorced are 

those who before marriage were related to their husbands. These command the 

whole household, and exercise considerable influence even beyond the family circle. 
Slavery still exists, and the Arabs of Muscat continue to import negroes and 
Somalis, whom they sell to the highest bidder. Baluch and Turkoman captives 
are the only whites thai are reduced to slavery. At the same time slaves are 
generally treated as members of the family, and are commonly addressed as bacha 
or "children." They may even become proprietors, although all they may acquire 
belongs legally to their owners. 

Elementary instruction is more developed than in certain European countries. 
To nearly all the mosques is attached a school, where the children learn at least to 
repeal passages from the Koran and strophes from the national poets. The poetic, 
taste has thus been so far cultivated that all Persians take pleasure in the recitation 
of the compositions of Ilatiz or Firdusi. Many are themselves skilled versifiers, 
and capable of composing treatises on scientific or theological subjects. "The ink 
of the learned is more precious than the blood of martyrs," say the natives with 
the Prophet. Nevertheless the printing-press, introduced into Tabriz in the begin- 
ning of this century, is still little used. Manuscripts are usually reproduced by the 
lithographic process, which is liest adapted to the graceful form of the Persian 
characters. There are also a few periodicals in Tabriz, Teheran, and Ispahan ; but 
being under the direct control of the Government, these journals are far from 
constituting a " fourth estate." 

Notwithstanding the decadence of the Iranian monarchy in territorial extent, 
population, commercial and industrial activity, the sovereign has abated none of 
his official claims to supremacy. The language that he addresses to his subjects 
recalls the haughty tone adopted by Artaxerxes or Darius when commemorating 
their triumphs in rock inscriptions addressed to their countless subjects. What 
are the •' majesties" of Europe, the " kings by the e^race of God," compared with 
such a title as " Kingof kings, exalted like the planet Saturn, Pole of the Universe, 


Well of Science, Footpath of Heaven, Sublime Sovereign whose standard is the sun, 
whose splendour is that of the firmament, Monarch of armies numerous as the 
stars " ? Amongst the rulers of men who is more legitimate than the " emanation 
of God himself " ? Every Persian subject repeats the lines of Sadi, " The vice 
approved by the prince becomes a virtue. To seek counsel opposed to his is to 
wash one's hands in one's own blood." But the Shah's omnipotence is already a 
thing of the past. In the eyes of his own people he is a sovereign only de facto, 
not de jure, for he is not a descendant of Ali, and such alone have any right to the 
Iranian throne. The grandiloquent titles possessed by the khan of the obscure 
Turki-Kajar tribe, who became Shah of Persia, have not prevented his power from 
becoming seriously limited. His last conflict with a European power occurred in 
1857, when the English landed a small force at Bushir, and bombarded Moham- 
merah. Since then in his foreign policy he has been fain to conform to the advice 
of the ministers resident at his Court. He has especially to attend to the counsel of 
the Russian ambassador, the maintenance of his power depending largely on the 
will of his powerful neighbour. Since the murder of the envoy (iriboyedov at 
Teheran in 1829, the kingdom is being gradually but surelv transformed into a 
Russian province. Without incurring the cost or responsibilities of conquest, the 
new masters of the country enjoy all the advantages of their undoubted political 

Even in the administration of the interior the royal power is limited by the 
precepts of the Koran, by custom, by the influence of the mushtehid, and other 
ecclesiastical functionaries. The Shah has even to take account of a certain public 
opinion, and still more of the unfavourable criticisms of the European press. But 
the Crown is assisted by no representative body. The ministers chosen by the Shah, 
whose number and rank he modifies at pleasure, are mere servants whom he loads 
with honours or causes to be strangled according to the whim of the moment. The 
principal wazirs are those of foreign affairs, of the interior, finance, justice, war, 

The administrative regime resembles that of the ancient satrapies. The 
provinces are ruled by the hakims or governors, " pillars and props of the State," 
who are mostly chosen from the royal family and reside at Teheran, being repre- 
sented on the spot by secondary wazirs. Their power, flowing directly from the 
royal authority, is without appeal, and comprises the right of life, torture, and 
death. " The king smiles only to show his lion-teeth " is a proverb quoted by 
Chardin, and recent instances are not lacking of wretched victims of the imperial 
wrath being bricked up alive, torn to pieces with the lash, or burnt to death at a 
slow fire. Imprisonment, owing to the cost of maintenance, is a punishment 
seldom resorted to, and in any ease t lie doors of all gaols are thrown open on the 
great feast of the new year. The district governors, as well as the police magis- 
trates in the towns, arc absolute in their respective jurisdictions. As in other 
M i issulman countries, jurisprudence and religion are confounded together. The 
sheikhs-el- Islam sit as judges in the provincial capitals, and appoint the secondary 
judges and magistrates in their several circuits. Nevertheless, in all the villages 


and in many towns arc found the rudiments "I a judicial system, and even "I a 
popular representation. All traders elect the syndic, who is charged with the 
defence of the communal interests before the judges and governors, but who is also 
held responsible for disturbances arising within hi* jurisdiction. He is required to 
make compensation for all loss or damage to property. Hence, having a personal 
interest iii the preservation of order, the police is much better organised than in 
Asiatic Turkey. The rural populations are nut armed, and their disputes seldom 
lead to serious outbreaks. The nomads have a separate administration, but, like 
the provinces, they form Btrictly monarchical groups. The ilkhani, or tribal chief, 
depends directly on the Shah or on the provincial governor, takes, like the latter, 
the title of " Pillar of the State," and is the sole lord and master of the community 
for whose good conduct he makes himself res] sihle. 

The army is composed chiefly of Turki and Turkoman elements drawn from the 
north-west provinces, where the warlike spirit is much more developed than in 
the lands occupied by the Iranians proper. Troops of formidable cavalry are also 
furnished by the Kashkai chiefs, the Bakhtyari ilkhanis, and the sheikhs of 
Arabistan. All the large iliat groups are required to equip &fanj, that is, a body 
nf sin) hi irse, for the frontier service. Christians and Guebres are exempt from 
military duties, as are also the natives of rlashan, who hear a traditional reputation 
for coward ice. Altogether, the army, being of a differenl race from the hulk of 
the people, shows itself only ton ready to treat them as conquered rebels, and has 
often recovered the arrears of pay by plundering them. Till 1875 the soldiers 
were enlisted for their whole life, returning to their homes only on temporary 
leave ; hut according to the official documents, the service is now reduced to twelve 
years, and the recruits are raised by ballot, with the privilege of finding substi- 
tutes. But these reforms exist only on paper, and the old system still prevails. 
The nizam, or regulars, are equipped and disciplined in the European way under 
foreign instructors, formerly English, French, and Austrians, now chiefly Russians 
and A ust m Hungarians. With the exception of a few squadrons of cavalry 
dressed as Cossacks, the tmnps wear the Austrian uniform. According to the 
official returns they comprise 77 battalions of infantry, 7!) regiments of cavalry, 
20 of artillery, and 1 battalion of pioneers, numbering altogether 100,000 men, 

with 200 guns. But there are probably not l v than "ill, (MM) effectives, some 

li>. nun of whom form a special body of gendarmerie and police. The navy is 
reduced to a bw custom-house boats and a royal yacht commanded by an admiral. 
In virtue of sundry treaties, the I laspian is now exclusively a " Russian lake," while 
the British navy is supreme in the Persian Gulf. 

Persia is one of the few States which have no public debt. The Crown even 
possesses a well-filled treasury, said to contain about If, 000, 000 in the precious 
metals and gems, or twice the annual receipts, which arc estimated at from 
fl. son, nun ,,, t". 1 , 000,000. The two main Bonrcesof revenue arc the land-tax, fixed 
at one-tilth of the produce besides supplementary charges, and the customs, farmed 
out for sums varying from £','00,000 to £240,000. The Government also imposes 
at pleasure additional taxes, cither throughout the empire or in special districts, 


thus enabling the provincial rulers to indulge in the most oppressive measures, and 
often involving whole communities in rain. On the arrival or departure of a hakim, 
the municipalities are further called upon to contribute towards his travelling 
expenses. But the sheep and oxen formerly sacrificed at his approach are now 
replaced by presents of money, costly fabrics, horses, and mules. Lastly, to their 
official salary the higher officials add the so-called mokatel, or supplemental^- 
honorarium exacted from his subordinates. 

The gold, silver, and copper coinage, made of ingots imported from Russia, is 
minted in most of the large cities, as far east as Sikohah in Sistan. The gold and 
silver pieces bear the name of the reigning shah, Nasr-ed-din Kajar, and 
occasionally even his effigy, notwithstanding the precepts of the Koran. Formerly 
the tomans were of pure gold ; now they contain a large proportion of alloy, and 
are mostly so worn that traders will accept them only by weight. Since 1879 the 
French monetary system has been officially introduced, and the toman now consists 
of ten krans (francs), subdivided into ten doubles (sAae, shaghis), the other 
divisions being the same as in France. 

A table of the provinces, governments, and chief towns, with their approximate 
populations, will be found in the appendix. The limits of the governments, 
districts, and buluks (cantons) are frequently modified according to the favour 
enjoyed by the royal princes and others entrusted with the administration of the 
land, their revenues increasing and diminishing with the extent of their several 



Asiatic TXJEKET. 

i|S in European Turkey, (lie portion of Western Asia subject to the 
sultan of Constantinople forms a dismembered political region, 
the remnant of an empire still kept together mainly through the 
sufferance of the great European powers. In the north-east the 
frontier has recently been rectified to the advantage of Russia, 
which has seized on the strategic points about the main water-partings. The yerj 
routes are already planned by which her armies are to descend the Euphrates, and 
add the Armenian and Kurdish territories to her other conquests. England, also, 
unable directly to prevent these political encroachments, has sought compensation 
in the island of Cyprus, whence the course of events may at least be observed, if 
not controlled. Even the Greeks of the Anatolian seaboard have begun to reassert 
the old llellenie autonomy, by the constitution of the principality of Samos, under 
the official suzerainty of the Porte. 

"While the Turkish empire in Asia is thus threatened, either by foreign powers 
on the frontiers, or by its own subjects on the coast, it is fast losing its cohesion 
in the interior, through the conflict of its discordant national elements. Greek 
and Turk, Laz and Kurd, Armenian, Maronite, Druse and Ansarieh, have begun 
that restless agitation which anticipates and hastens the final rupture of the ties 
still binding them together in one political system. The various provinces of the 
empire are, moreover, separated by intervening deserts or wasted lands; and in the 
s ml h long journeys must be made across the wilderness, in order to reach the 
Euphrates from the cultivated valleys of the Lebanon. Since the Roman epoch 
the waste spaees have increased in extent. Round about Palmyra and other 
ancient cities nothing is now to be seen except scattered nomad camping-grounds. 
Even since the beginning of the present century, many cultivated tracts have 
become depopulated, either by famine, emigration, or the frequent conscriptions 
of soldier- seldom destined to revisit their homes. 

Hence, whatever be the official administrative divisions, it will be convenient 
to treat as distinct lands the various countries ,,!' Asiatic Turkey, which present a 
certain unity in their geographical outlines, their history, and ethnical relations. 
One of these natural regions is formed by the closed basin of Lake Van, with the 


Kurdish and Armenian highlands between Trans-Caucasia and the Upper 
Euphrates. The Mesopotamian plain, formerly the seat of powerful empires and 
of many famous cities, also constitutes a well-detined geographical and historical 
land. The same is true of the Anatolian peninsula, whose seaboard, fringed with 
islands and islets, develops a vast zone of cultivated lowlands round about the 
thinly-peopled inland region of plateaux and saline steppes. Cyprus, now 
constituting a portion of the prodigious British empire, must also be studied apart, 
presenting as it does a distinctly original culture, intermediate between those of 
Greece and Phoenicia. Lastly, the long hilly district of Syria and Palestine, 
skirted on one side by the Mediterranean, on the other by the desert, forms a 
separate physical region, whose inhabitants have played a leading part in the 
history of the world by their discoveries, commercial enterprise, and diffusion 
of ideas. There remain the Turkish possessions on the Arabian seaboard, which 
are best considered in connection with the peninsula with which they form a 
geographical whole. 

(Black Sea Coast — Basins of Lake Van and the Upper Euphrates.) 

Although the present political limits of Asiatic Turkey no longer correspond 
with its natural frontiers, Mount Ararat forms at least a convenient corner-stone at 
the converging point of the Russian, Turkish, and Persian territories. From the 
depression between the Great and Little Ararat, where the three empires meet, the 
Turkish frontier follows for 90 miles to the west the water-parting between the 
Aras and Euphrates basins. This is confessedly a temporary arrangement, and to 
judge from past experiences, fresh wars must sooner or later be followed by fresh 
annexations to the Russian empire. Elburz, giant of the Caucasus, ruay repeat to 
Tandurek, Bingol-dagh and Argseus what it formerly said to Kazbek, in the lines of 
Lermontov : " Tremble ! Peering towards the icy north, I behold sights of ill- 
omen ! From Ural to Danube the clash of arms ; brazen batteries moving forward 
with sinister rumblings ; smoking fuses ready for battle ! " 

West of Ararat, the green plain of the Echmiadzin basin is skirted by a 
rugged volcanic chain, some of whose cones, such as the Chinghil and Perli-dagh, 
exceed 10,000 feet, or about 5,000 above the plain. But the range falls gradually 
towards the west and south-west, again rising towards the water-parting, and with 
other converging ridges forming the Bingol-dagh, or " Mountain of the Thousand 
Lakes" (11,500 feet), whose winter and spring snows feed the streams radiating in 
all directions, east to the Aras, north and south to the Kara-su and Murad, the 
two main branches of the Upper Euphrates. Beyond this point the chief crest of 
these highlands runs for 150 miles westwards parallel with the Euxine seaboard. 
Here an opening is at last made for the Kara-su, which trends abruptly south-east 
to join the other branch of the Euphrates. 

The Bingol-dag is connected with the Erzerum Mountains by a lofty ridge 
running north, and forming an irregular water-parting east of the sources of the 
Kara-su. Along this line passes the great military highway between Erzerum and 



Kara. Eere tin- culminating point is the Palandoken (10,450 feet) ; but farther 
west a still greater altitude is attained by Beveral Bummite of the Perli-dagh, 
which is skirted by the firsl great bend <>i the Eara-su. North of the Erzerum 
basin the Bingol is rivalled l>y the (ihiaur-dagh, another great centre of streams 
radiating in various directions. Such arc the Tortum-su, which, after forming one 
of the finest waterfalls in the old World, flows through deep lava gorges with walls 
l,0(J(t feet high, to the Choruk and Black Sea; several head-stream- id' the Aras 
and Kura, belonging to the Caspian basin, and lastly, the main source of the 
Euphrates, which flows to the Persian Gulf. The latter is associated with many 
local Armenian legends, and is regarded as sacred even by the Turks, who believe 

Pig. 60. — Bourn oi thi Chin Explorers oi Armenia. 

1 : 6,500,000. 



■Sr .... »Kh»fbolrt- ,, . - J. 



120 Miles. 

that while ordinary sins are washed away by the healing waters of the Euphrates, 
they prove fatal to those pursued by the wrath of Allah. After its junction with 
numerous other mountain torrents, the sacred stream descends into the Erzerum 
basin, where the extensive Sazlik swamps Income Hooded during the melting of 
the snows in spring. These swamps are probably the remains of an old lake 
formerly filling the Erzerum basin, although Radde failed, after a long search, to 
find any species of lacustrine molusc in its bed. 

The hills encircling this basin are largely of igneous origin, as is evident from 
the regular cones rising here and there above the crest. At the very gates of 
Erzerum is a crater formerly tilled with water, which has escaped through a deep 



gorge northwards to the Kara-su marshes. But the highest and most remarkable 
of these volcanoes is the Sishchik of the Ghiaur-dagh range, which rises to the 
north-west of Erzerum, 3,960 feet above the plain, and to an absolute elevation of 
10,550 feet. From the centre of the crater, which resembles Vesuvius in shape, 
but greatly exceeds it in size, there springs a cone of black and brown scoriae, 
round which runs a grassy zone covered with flowers in spring. 

The La/.istan and Kurdistan Mountains. 

The Kara-su Valley is skirted on the north by a chain of hills running mainly 
parallel with the Black Sea, and merging westwards in the Sivas plateau. This is 
the Paryandres of the ancients, now better known as the Kop-dagh, from a peak 

Fig. 61. — Bixgol-Dagh. 

Scale 1 : 150,000. 


, ■ 



af G 

. 3 Miles. 

of that name rising 13,000 feet above the great highway between Erzerum and 
Trebizond. The pass crossed by this route, the most remarkable engineering work 
in Turkey, is 9,000 feet high, or about the same altitude as the Stelvio of the 
Central Alps. North of it is the Churuk Valley, which, with that id the Kharshut, 
or Gumish-Kaneh River, forms a surprisingly regular semicircular depression. 
From the port of Batum, near the mouth of the Churuk. to Tireboli, at the mouth of 
the Kharshut, the road runs along a vast avenue of peaks, and rises nowhere 
higher than the pass (6,330 feet) between the sources of the two rivers, near the 


village of Yavug. The va-t crescent enclosed bj these two streams is occupied by 
the Pontine Alps, a lofty range culminating with the Khachkar peak, about 1 '2,000 
feet. In these Lazistan highlands the paths are blocked by mow for siz months 
in the year. " The birds themselves," say the natives, " are unahle to fly over the 
hills in winter." 

The mountains coasting the Euxine, west of the Kharshut, towards the Kizil- 

innak, although less elevated than the routine Alps, are still high enough to 
render the communications very arduous. Theyproject lofty headlands at intervals 
seawards, one of which still hears the name of Yasun-burun, that is, Cape Jason, 

from the navigator of Greek legend. Numerous traces of old glaciers and 

moraines arc visible in the upland valleys of the Pontine Alps, whose lavas, 
porphyries, and other eruptive rocks have been everyu here scored by the ice-streams. 
In this region the glacial period seems to have been preceded by the igneous 
activity, the only surviving indications of which are the frequent earthquakes and 
numerous hot springs at the foot and on the slope of the hills. According to 
Strecker, the Kolat-dagh (9,600 feet), rising above the main range over 30 miles 
south of Trebizond, is the Mount Theekes whence Xenophon's ten thousand first 
sighted the sea on their retreat from Babylonia. But this peak is scarcely accessible 
to an army on the march, while the descent on the north side is altogether imprac- 
ticable. But south of it, and close to the route which the Greeks must have followed, 
there stands a hill 8,000 feet high, whence the Euxine is perfectly visible. On its 
highest point stands a monument of porphyry blocks some 30 feet high, surrounded 
by some truncated cones, which according to Briot, were erected by/ the Greeks to 
Commemorate their arrival at the coast. 

The vast labyrinth of the Anti-Caucasus, or Armenian Alps, comprises not 
only the region between the Kura basin, Black Sea, and Upper Euphrates, but 
also the extensive basin of Lake Van, south of Ararat, and the surrounding districts 
as far as the Persian frontier. Throughout the whole of this region the mean 
elevation of the land is very great. Even the lacustrine depression of Lake Dalik- 
gol, south of the Perli-dagh, stands at an altitude of 7,-Vmi feet, whence its 
overflow is discharged to a tributary of the Aras. South of it flows the Afurad, 
or Southern Euphrates, in a narrow rocky bed over fi.oOO feet above sea level. 
Northwards this rugged upland region is bounded by the twin peaks of Ararat, 
southwards by the less elevated Ala-dagh, whence How the highest head-streams 
of the Euphrates, at an elevation of 11,700 feet. Due east of this point stands the 
still loftier Tandurek (11,850 feet), known also as the Sunderlik-dagh, Khur, or 
Khori, which of all the Armenian volcanoes still preserves the most numerous 
traces of the former plutonic forces. The chief crater, over 3,000 yards in 
circumference and : '.S0 deep, is now flooded by a small Alpine lake. But smoke 
still escapes from its flanks, and on the eastern slope is a cavern emitting vapours at 
a temperature of 265 P. Mere is heard a continuous booming, which resembles 
the sound of distant artillery, and which, during one of the Russo-Turkiflh frontier 
wars, canned an alarm in the two hostile armies encamped in the neighbourhood. 
At the north-west foot of the Tandurek well up the copious sulphur springs of 


Divadin, covering the ground with their many-coloured incrustations, and forming 
a thermal stream, which descends through a series of smoking cascades down to 
the icy waters of the Murad. Farther down the Murad itself disappears in a 
hasalt underground channel, which is continued hy a deep canon between two 
vertical rocky walls. 

The Tandurek is connected north-westwards with the Perli-dagh by a ridge, 
which is crossed by the route from Erzerum to Tabriz, and which would appear 
to form the true natural frontier between Turkey and Persia. But the eastern 
valley, watered by Lake Balik with its emissary of like name, is at present included 
within the limits of the Ottoman empire. The range running east of Tandurek 
over against Ararat also forms a natural frontier, both slopes of which are 
occupied by semi-independent Kurdish tribes between the two conterminous 
states. Eastwards this range projects a few short spurs, terminating with abrupt 
headlands towards Lake Urmiah. But in the direction of Lake Tan several 
branches stretch for a long way westwards, gradually merging in the plateau, 
which has here a mean altitude of over 6,000 feet, while some of the peaks on the 
main range itself rise to an absolute height of 10,000 feet. The same elevation 
appears to be attained, if not exceeded, by the Hakkiari hills, which sweep round 
to the south along the southern shore of Lake Van. The circuit of mountains 
enclosing this lacustrine basin is completed on the north and north-west by 
another range, culminating with the extinct volcanic peak of Seiban, or Sapan, 
(about 12,000 feet), which, according to Tozer, is covered with snow for ten months 
in the year. This majestic cone, formerly supposed to rival Demavend in height, 
and associated with Ararat in the Armenian legends connected with the Xoachian 
deluge, commands a magnificent prospect of the northern highlands, sweeping 
round in a vast curve of 180 miles from Ararat to Bingol-dagh. Southwards is 
visible the side crater flooded by the Aghir-gol, or " Still Lake," beyond which 
stretches the basin of Van itself, with its inlets, bays, marshes, and encircling hills. 
At the west foot of Sapan lies the freshwater lakelet of Xazik, on the water- 
parting between Van and the Euphrates, to both of which it sends emissaries. 

The last southern terraces of the Armenian plateau terminate above the 
Mesopotamian plains in a line of rugged cliffs scored by deep river gorges, but 
forming in their normal direction a regular north-western continuation of the 
Luristan border range. Immediately west of Lake Van rises the vast crater of the 
Nimrud-dagh composed entirely of scoria', the south side of which is indented by 
an elliptic bay, section of another volcano now partly submerged. The whole 
of Upper Armenia is an igneous region, still subject to frequent earthquakes. 

Lake Van. 

Lake Van, the Tosp of the Armenians, whence its classic name of Thospitis, 
stands at an altitude of 5,400 feet: that is, 1,100 feet higher than Urmiah. It has 
an estimated area of 1,470 square miles, or somewhat less than its Azerbaijan 
neighbour, which, however, it considerably exceeds in depth, and consequently also 



in volume. On the east side, within 2 miles of the town of Van, the soundings give 
so feet of water, while the bed ol the lake sinks to far greater depths along its 
southern shore. The great bay, however, which penetrates some o(i miles north- 
eastwards, forma a shallow i spanse, n here in spring the mountain torrents develop 
extensive alluvial deltas. According to a local tradition, this inlel was formerly a 
Tortile plain watered by two streams which continued their winding eourse south- 
westward- to Bitlis. In any case, the data collected by Jaubert, Loftus, Strecker, 

Via. 62. — Lake Van— Tadwan Bai i\n Mount Nimbub. 

and other-. Leave no doubt regarding the e-reat changes of level undergone by this 
inland sea. Between ls:»S and L8 10 it rose from 10 to 13 feet, and a similar rising 
seems to have occurred early in the seventeenth century, the waters again subsiding 
after a few years. Several of the islets along the coast have at times been Hooded, 

and old promontories have been transformed to islands constantly diminishing in 
extent. The highway skirting the north side has in the same way steadily 
reeeded farther inland The town of Arjish, on the aorth-easl bay, has almost 

LAKE VAN. 169 

entirely disappeared ; while Adeljivas, on (lie north coast, is now threatened by the 
rising waters. On the east side also the lake is advancing towards Van, which has 
itself already replaced a more ancient city of that name. The village of Iskella 
has been partly abandoned, and the boatmen moor their craft to trunks of trees 
which now stand far from the shore. To these constant invasions are perhaps to be 
attributed the local traditions regarding large cities formerly swallowed up by the 
lake. What is the explanation of a phenomenon, the very opposite of what is 
observed in nearly all the other Asiatic lacustrine basins ? Unless it be due to some 
local atmospheric currents attracting to this region more rain-bearing clouds than 
elsewhere, the reason given by the inhabitants themselves must be accepted. 
According to their statements the underground passages, through which copious 
streams formerly escaped to the head waters of the Tigris, have been partly effaced, 
and the reservoir receiving more supplies than can now be carried off by evapora- 
tion and subterranean emissaries, must continue to rise until an equilibrium is 
established, or until the excess is discharged south-westwards to the torrent of 
Bitlis. It is also stated that the neighbouring nomads have rolled a huge block to 
the head of one of the underground outlets, and since then the lake has been 
gradually but steadily rising. The lakelet of Erchek, east of Van, is also expanding, 
a circumstance which would seem to point rather at a change of the local climatic 
conditions. Erchek also resembles Van in its saline properties, but contains, 
according to Millingen, a strong proportion of arsenic. 

Van itself is far too brackish to be potable by man or beast. But being still 
less saline than Urmiah, it contains a more developed fauna. At the mouths 
of the streams considerable captures are made of a species of fish wrongly identi- 
fied by Joubert with the anchovy of the Black Sea. As shown by the naturalist 
Deyrolle, it is a blay (Cyprinus TarachiX which appears to avoid the more saline 
waters, and shows itself near the surface only in the spring, from March to May, 
when the fresh supplies from the melting snows are spread over the heavier salt 
layers found at lower depths. The saline deposits round the shores both of Van 
and Erchek, consist in even proportions of carbonate and sulphate of soda, utilised 
in the manufacture of soap, which is exported as far as Syria. 

Boats are rare on Lake Van, although Fanshawe Tozer recently crossed it in a 
fishing-smack, accompanied by a Hot ilia of five others, and a steamer was launched 
on its waters by the American missionaries in 1879. 

Climate — Flora — Fauna. 

The very existence of Van, Urmiah, Gokclia, and of the numerous smaller 
lacustrine basins on the Akhaltzikh plateau, between Ears and Tiflis, is sufficient 
proof that the climate of the Armenian uplands is far more humid than that 
of Persia. The whole of Lazistan and the hilly region comprised by the ancients 
under the name of Pontus, lie, in fact, within the influence of the western and 
north-western winds, which bring from the Euxine an abundant supply of rain 
during the summer storms, and of snow during winter. Although the rainfall 


is less copious than cm the southern slopes of the Caucasus, where the annual 
discharge exceeds 75 inches in Mingrelia and [meria, ii amounts to at leasl hali that 
average in some of the more favoured valleys of Lazistan. In the absence "I' 
accurate returns, the mean yearly discharge may )»■ approximately estimated at 
about 20 inches for the whole of the Armenian uplands. 

<>n the other hand certain districts, such as the < * 1 t i plateau, shut oil' by lofty 
ranges from the rain-bearing clouds, liave seldom sullieient moisture for agricul- 
tural purposes. Heme, as on the Caspian slope id' Trans-Caucasia, the brooks have 
here to be collected in reservoirs, and dispersed in a thousand channels over the 
arable lands. But notwithstanding the harrier of the Tontine Alps, most of 
Southern Armenia is exposed to the influence of the moist winds, which blow from 
the Euxine across the Shas plateau into the funnel-shaped upland valleys being 
westwards. They prevail chiefly in winter, when they clothe with a thick mantle 
of snow the amphitheatre of hills about the head-waters id' the Euphrates. In 
summer they are succeeded by the dry northern and eastern breezes from the great 
polar current, which traverse the Asiatic continent and melt the Alpine snows. A 
supply of moisture is also yielded by the south-western winds from the -Mediter- 
ranean, to which are due the soft, hazy outlines of the hills, and the delicate tints 
of the landscape, conspicuous even in clear weather. On the northern slopes the 
superabundant humidity from the Euxine is sufficient to develop rivers, such as the 
Choruk and Kharchut, whose volume is out of proportion with the extent of their 
basin. Enough remains even for the southern slope, where it feeds the Euphrates 
and Tigris, whose united stream in the Shat-el-Arab exceeds all other rivers 
between the Indus and the Danube. The Euphrates maj thus be regarded as a 
great emissary of the Black Sea, whose evaporated waters are precipitated through 
this perennial channel into the Persian Gulf. 

On the shores of the Euxine a tolerably mild temperature prevails throughout 
the year. Here the e;lass s r ldom falls 10° F. below freezing point, while the 
moderating influence of the sea prevents the summer heats from exceeding 77° F. 
But the Turkish Armenian uplands, lying beyond this influence, are subject to 
extreme vicissitudes of heat and cold. There is scarcely any spring at Erzerum, 
where the winter snows rapidly melting, suddenly change the torrents into large 
rivers. Extended observations are still needed to form a just estimate of this 
climate, as compared with that of other countries in Europe and Asia, whose 
meteorological conditions are already determined. But differences of no less than 
60" F. have been recorded between dawn and noon, while the glass seems to 
oscillate between the extremes of 13° F. and 112° F. of absolute cold and heat 
The vegetation, retarded by the winter and spring frosts, is stimulated by the early 
summer heats, when all tiature bursts suddenly into full bloom. Wheat is 
developed from sprout to ear within the space of two months; bul it would soon 
be burnt up by the fierce midsummer sun, were it not supplied with sufficient 
moisture by artificial irrigation. This eoeal is cultivated to an altitude of 6,000, 
and barley up to 7,000, feet ; but at these extreme heights tin- crops are threatened 
by the sudden return of frost in the early autumn. On the whole, agricultural 


operations are confined to lower limits on the Armenian highlands than on the 
more northerly Georgian slopes of Caucasia. This is due probably to the form 
of the Armenian ranges, which give access tbrough numerous openings to 
the northern winds, against which the Great Caucasus presents an unbroken 

In the neighbourhood of the Black Sea, the vegetation resembles that of Min- 
grelia, but presents fewer species and a less varied display of bright colours. 
Laziatan, say the natives, is the land of fruits, while Armenia is supposed to be the 
original home of the vine, pear, and many other species. In the Trebizond district, 
the hills are clothed from base to summit with a rich vegetable humus, which 
supports a varied growth of garden plants, orchards, grassy tracts, evergreen and 
other trees. The towns and villages on the coast are surrounded by citron and 
olive groves, which are succeeded higher up by the walnut, oak, and chestnut. 
Beyond these comes the zone of scarlet rhododendrons and azaleas, to the latter of 
which has been attributed the poisonous action of the honey that intoxicated or 
demented the Greek soldiers of Xenophon's expedition. 

Further inland the Armenian highlands are mostly destitute of arborescent 
vegetation. Nothing is seen but bare rocks and pastures, in a region which might 
be covered with timber. Hence animals and even birds are rare, most of the slopes 
being occupied by nomad pastors, with their flocks of fat-tailed sheep, guarded by 
half wild collies, which are often more dangerous than bears or wolves. There is 
also a good breed of horses, extremely gentle yet full of spirit, but inferior in 
strength to the Turkoman and in graceful action to the Persian species. But the 
chief resource of the whole of this region is the sheep, of which as many as forty 
millions are said to be found between Ararat and the Persian Gulf. At the bes?in- 
ning of the century Jaubert estimated at 1, 000, ( 100 the number sent annuallv to 
Constantinople from the Armenian uplands. Aleppo, Damascus, and even Beirut, 
are supplied with mutton from Armenia and Kurdistan, and during their 
campaigns the Turkish armies largely depend for their provisions on the region of 
the Upper Euphrates. 

Inhabitants — The Lazes and Armenians. 

The inhabitants of Lazistan, Turkish Armenia, and Kurdistan, estimated 
altogether at upwards of two millions, belong mainly to the same ethnical groups 
as the populations of Trans-Caucasia. Here the political frontier forms no ethno- 
graphic parting- line. On both sides dwell peoples of Georgian stock ; the Turkish 
Erzerum, like the Russian Erivan, belongs to the Armenian domain ; Kurdish 
nomad pastors frequent the shores of lake Van as well as those of lake Gokcha. 
At every fresh Russian conquest, migrations, forced or voluntary, have taken place 
between the conterminous states. Between 1828 and ] s: ii» over 100,000 Armenians 
passed from Turkey and Persia into Russian territory, where they received the 
lands of the Turki and Kurdish immigrants into the Mohammedan countries. 
Since 1877 similar shiftings of the populations have taken place between Turkish 


Armenia and the provinces annexed to Russian Trans-Caucasia. The Turks of 
Ardahan and Ears have retired to Erzerum ami Sivas, those ..| Artvin to the Nan 
plateau, the lands thus Left vacant being occupied by Armenians from tin- I ' [ >] n r 
Chorukh, from the Erzerum and \'an districts. In this readjustmenl of the popu- 
lations, the Ottoman empire has on the whole benefitted most. The Mussulmans 
almo>t unanimously flee from their mw Russian masters, whereas many Turkish 
Armenian- prefer the misrule of the pa-has to the meddlesome interference of the 
Muscovite administration. Thus the chief re8ult of the Russian invasions has lieen 
to transform Armenia into another Turkestan. 

Nevertheless these displacements, which have been constantly accompanied by 
a frightful mortality caused by famine, fever, homesickness, and hardships oi ever] 
sort, are still far from having produced an ethnological grouping coincident with 
the conventional political frontier. In case id' fresh conflicts with the Porte, Russia 
naturally derives great diplomatic and military advantages from the presence of 
kindred communities in the conterminous provinces. On behalf of her Trans- 
Caucasian Georgian subjects, she acquires a right or pretext for interfering in the 
affairs of their Laz brethern in the Trebizond district. As mistress of the Kurdish 
pastors, she may claim the prerogative of maintaining order amongst these restless 

nomads on both sides of the frontier. But especially as possessor of the holy city 

of Echmiadzin, and guardian of the Armenian Christians, she may feel called upon 
to insist upon those administrative reforms which British influence has hitherto 
been powerless to introduce into Turkish Armenia. In European Turkey, Russia 
has successfully interfered on behalf of the Bulgarians, and obtained for them an 
autonomous territory stretching nearly to the (Julf of Salonica. In the same way, 
when the occasion serves, she will be ready armed with a pretext for intervention 
in favour of the Armenian communities scattered over Western Asia from Erzerum 
to the Gulf of Alexandretta, over against Cyprus, England's new acquisition in the 
East. England herself can scarcely expect to olfer an guarantee against 
farther Muscovite encroachments on the present limits of the Ottoman empire. 
She can no longer control the course of events in these regions, and the refusal 
or neglect of the Turk to introduce the much needed reforms will merely serve as 
an excuse for withdrawing from her new •• Protectorate." 

It is -ad to reflect that such a rich land, one of the fairest, and formerly one of 
the most productive in the temperate /one. is now so little utilised by man. The 
population, which cannot be estimated at more than ten or twelve to the square mile, 
seems to be even diminishing. Yet the dominant Turki race, although still mostly 
in the tribal state, possesses many sterling qualities, which ought to secure it a con- 
siderable part in the common work of human progress. Laborious, long-suifering, 
persevering, the western Turkoman an weariedly returns to field labours interrupted 
hv invasions. Conscious of the renown of their forefathers, the Kara-Koyunli and 
the Ak-Koyunli — that is, the " Black " and "White Shepherds" — preserve a feeling 
of national cohesion unknown to most of their neighbours. Hence the facility with 
which they absorb fresh ethnical elements, such as Lazes, Circassians, and Kurds, 
who gradually become assimilated to the ruling race, especially in those districts 


where nomad habits have given place to agricultural pursuits. For Turkey the 
true source of regeneration lies rather in these vigorous Turkoman peasant com- 
munities than in political alliances or " European capital." 

The Lazes of the seaboard and the A jar a of the coast ranges between Batum 
and Trebizond, are Mohammedans of Georgian stock, endowed with the same fine 
physical qualities as their Trans-Caucasian kinsmen. Their speech is closely allied 
to that current on the Mingrelian lowlands, but affected by Turki and Greek 
elements. At the same time, the migratory habits and different religious and 
political institutions of the Lazes, cause their dialect to diverge more and more 
from that of the Russian Georgians, and become more assimilated to the Turkish, 
which has even already displaced it in some districts on the Upper Chorukh river. 
These mountaineers are a hardy, industrious race, fond of adventure, formerly 
much addicted to piracy on the Euxiue waters. They are now chiefly occupied 
with fishing, agriculture, and the transport of merchandise, while thousands seek 
employment as porters, coppersmiths and tide-waiters in Constantinople. In 
Lazistan proper, which reaches westwards to Cape Kemer, the inhabitants are 
almost exclusively of Laz stock. But beyond this point, in the direction of 
Trebizond and Platana, Laz communities become gradually less numerous, and 
more interspersed with Greek and Turkish populations. Next to them the most 
important ethnical elements are the Cherkesses, Abkhasians, and other refugees 
from the Caucasus, about 6,000 of whom are annually moving westwards. The 
Armenians have only a small group of villages about Kopi, on the frontier of the 
Batum district, and the Greek colon)' is reduced to a few isolated families in the 
towns along the coast. In certain inland villages, especially at Jivislik, on the 
road from Trebizond to Gumish-kaneh, there occurs an intermediate class of 
" Mezzo-mezzos," in the morning speaking Turkish and visiting the mosques, 
in the evening conversing in Greek and celebrating Christian rites. These half- 
caste Hellenes and Lazes have by some been identified with the Macrones, who, 
according to Herodotus, practised circumcision, and who may have consequently 
been regarded as a sort of Mussulmans before the Moslem conquest . 

Although nowhere in Trans-Caucasia or Asiatic Turkey forming a compact 
national community, the Haikans (Armenians) form the dominant population on the 
southern slope of the Chorukh Valley, as well as on the main branches of the 
Upper Euphrates. They are also in exclusive possession of some upland valleys in 
the Jihun basin, Asia Minor, where the traditions of the old Armenian empire 
are still best preserved. The total number of Armenians in the provinces left to 
Turkey has been variously estimated, according to the political bias of the writers, 
at from 500,000 to 2,000,000 or 3,000,000. They may approximately be calculated 
at some 700,000 or 800,000 — that is to say, about one third of the whole Armenian 
nation. In Erzerum, as in Constantinople, they are distinguished from the Turks by 
their greater love of instruction and industrious habits. In the vilayet of Van they 
have almost a complete monopoly of the local trades. Tiny readily migrate, and thou- 
sands are now settled in Constantinople, and the other cities of European and Asiatic 
Turkey, where they find employment especially as builders, artisans, and carriers. 


The Ki rds. 

While tlic centre of gravity of the Armenian nationality now lies at the foot of 

Mount Ararat within Russian territory, the Kurds are concentrated chiefly on the 
Vun plateau, whence their numerous tribes radiate over a vast extent of country. 
Including in this group the Luri and Bakhtyari of the Persian border ranges, and 
the rarious aomads removed by the Persian sovereigns to Khorassan and the 
Baluch frontier, their domain is found to stretch for about GOO miles from the 
neighbourhood of Ramadan to Aintab, with a mean breadth of 150 miles. Bui the 
few tribes scattered amongst the Armenians, Georgians, and Tatars of Russian 
Trans-Caucasia, have little cohesion with the Persian and Turkish divisions of the 
family. The majority recognise the sovereignty of the Porte, although various 
communities, especially in the Dersim highlands, south-west of Erzerum, still form 
petty semi-independent states. F.lsewhere also, and notably in the basin of tin 
Great Zab, they constitute a compact nationality, powerful enough to aspire to 
political autonomy in the Turko-l'ersian borderlands. Attempts have even been 
made to found a common league or confederacy of all the Kurdish tribes, which, 
however aggressive towards other races, seldom quarrel amongsl themselves. 

Scattered over such a vast range, the Kurds naturally present considerable 
diversity of physical types. In some respects they even form distinct ethnical 
groups, some being affected by Turkoman or Tatar, others by Armenian or 
Persian elements. Certain tribes, regarded as of pure Armenian stock, are 
supposed to be descended from old Christian communities converted to Islam. 
.Nearly all the Turkish soldiers stationed in the Kurdish highlands intermarry with 
the natives, whereby the physical appearance becomes still farther modified. 
Some are noted for their coarse and even ugly features, while others rival the finest 
Cherkesses in grace and symmetry of form, Thoseofthe (Jrmiahand Van basins, 
who are regarded as the descendants of the K'udraha, mentioned in the Persepolis 
inscriptions (the Kardukhi and Gordyans of Greek writers), are of middle size and 
thick-set, with a haughty expression; while those of the Persian frontier have 
generally a receding brow, wide eyebrows, long lashes, large mouth, projecting 
chin, pointed aquiline nose. Many, especially of the Persian tribes, dye their bushy 
beards and hair red or black, although naturally light hair and even blue eyes are 
far from rare. Five skulls measured by Duhousset are strongly brachycephalic, 
thus presenting a marked contrast to the Past Persian, Afghan, and Hindu crania. 
But no general conclusion can be drawn from such partial measurements, still less 
from the vague comparisons made by the American missionaries with the Red- 
skins of the New World. 

The children are very pretty, and the features of the women, who never go 
veiled, distinguished by great regularity, largo eyes, aquiline nose, robust figure, 
deep black hair, well harmonising with a slightly brown or swarthy complexion. 
Unfortunately they are too often disfigured, like their Hindu sisters, by the gold 
ring passed through the nostrils. Roth sexes are fond of finery, bright-coloured, 
costly robes, high head-dresses, enveloped by the men in gorgeous turbans. The 


THE Kl'KltS. 


Kurd completes his costume by an arsenal of small-arms — revolvers, knives and 
yatagana — attached to the girdle, ritiV swung to a shoulder-belt, a long lance 
decorated with ribbons and carried in the hand. But this is mere parade, most of 
such encumbrances being dispensed with in actual combat. 

Most explorers and missionaries that have resided any time amongst them 
have recognised two well defined castes, descended probably from distinct 
ethnical stocks, and known as the Kermani or Assireta — that is, nobles — and 
guran, or peasants. The latter, four or five times more numerous that the former 
in South Kurdistan, are regarded, not without reason, as the descendants of a 
conquered and enslaved race. Like other serfs attached to the soil, they are 

Fig. G3. — Populations of Turkish Akmenia. 
Scale 1 : 6,000,000 



' *■* V" JJt 



L | ot ur~ecnwich 

known in Turkey as raya, or riots. In certain districts they are compelled to 
till the land for masters who claim over them the right of life and death. 
Under no circumstances can they rise to the rank of warriors, but, like cattle, 
change their owners according to the vicissitudes of battle. On the other hand, 
the military, or noble caste, would be dishonoured by agricultural labour. Besides 
stock-breeding, their only occupation is pillage and warfare, either on their nun 
account or as mercenaries. The type is inferior to that of the Gurans, being 
marked by angular features, small sunken eyes, heavy figures. Amongst them 
are also found a few Chinghianehs, or gipsies, differing in no respect from those 
of Europe ; and the Tere-Kamehs, who occupy about a hundred villages near the 


Persian frontier, and who, owing to their Turki speech, arc regarded as of 
Tatar descent. 

Like the race itself, the Kurdish language presents a great diversity of form, 
although the common structure is essentially [ranic. The vocabulary lias been 
enriched in the east by Persian, in the west by Arabic and Turkish words, in 
some district even by Syriac and Russian terms. The Zaza, current at Mush and 
l'alu, presents certain analogies with the Ossetian of the Caucasus; and. 
according to Lereh, there are altogether five distinct dialects, (me of which, the 
Kciinanji, is spoken by all the tribes west of MosauL All these idioms are harsh, 
sounding like a series of explosions, yet less affected by sibilants and gutturals 
than most of those current amongst the surrounding peoples. To the national 
literature, consisting of a few Bongs in praise of their heroes and wild mountain 
scenery, the American missionaries have added a translation of the Bible and a few 
religious works. Having no distinct writing system, the Kurds employ the 
Arabic as modified by their Persian neighbours, and the lettered classes usual]} 
exchange the rude national speech for the more cultured Turkish or Persian. 

Neither Baluch, Bedouin, nor Apache has developed the marauding instinct 
to a higher degree than have the warlike Kurd tribes. The chief, whose moun- 
tain fastness commands like an eyrie the entrance of the gorges, entertains a 
hand of freebooters, who scour the surrounding highways, and swei p the plunder 
into his inaccessible den. Armed robbery is regarded as the most honourable of 
deeds; hut smuggling, which might be so easily carried on in an upland region 
on the confines of three empires, is held in contempt. Advantage, however, is 
taken of the conterminous frontiers, in order to organise excursions now against 
one, now against another of the neighbouring states, and when pursued rapidly 
retire across the border. It is to avoid these dangerous hereditary foes of their 
race and religion that so many Armenian communities have forsaken their homes 
and withdrawn to Russian territory. In many districts of the plateau, a chronic 
state of blockade is kept up against whole towns and groups of villages, where 
the inhabitants live in constant dread of the marauders. The drastic measures, 
such as impaling and the stake, taken against them, instead of striking terror 
into these brigand tribes, have often the effect of stimulating them to frightful 
reprisals. Suppressed in one place, the incessant struggle breaks out in another, 
at times compelling the Turkish (iovernment to fit out costly military expeditions. 
According to Polak, there is one Kurdish sect which strictly forbids the plunder 
of the living, in consequence of which these sectaries first scrupulously murder 
their victims before rifling them. Nevertheless, under ordinary circumstances, 
human life is respected, and clothes and provisions are even occasionally left to 
the poor in the villages plundered. Bloodshed is avoided except in the case of 
personal or hereditary feuds, when the laws of vendetta may be enforced in the 
mosque itself. The chiefs, to whom all yield blind obedience, keep open table, 
and return in banquets the presents exacted and the products of their plundering 
raids. The stranger also is well received when he presents himself as a guest. 

Notwithstanding their warlike habits and marauding propensities, the Kurds 


are on the whole more honest and trustworthy than llie surrounding races. In 
general they respect their women, who enjoy far greater freedom than their 
Turkish and Persian sisters. But the incessant toil to which they are condemned 
renders their existence so burdensome that mothers are said frequently to make 
away with their female offspring, in order to save them from their hard lot. But, 
unlike the Circassians, whom they resemble in so many other respects, they have 
never been accustomed to sell them to the purveyors of the Turkish harems. 
Notwithstanding their many sterling qualities, the Kurds are threathened with 
extinction in many districts in Persia and Turkey, where they are diminishing 
in numbers, and here and there merging in the surrounding populations. The 
serfs, who constitute the bulk of the nation, have no interest in maintaining the 
relations binding them to the warlike caste, which on its part is condemned to 
exhaustion by its very mode of existence — a perpetual warfare against all their 
neighbours. Keligious animosity contributes to the work of destruction, at least 
in Persia, where three-fourths of the Kurds are zealous Sunnites, and consequently 
regarded by the Iranian Shiahs as heretics deserving the worst of fates. 

The Kizil-Bashes, Yezidis, and Nestorians. 

In this land of transition, where the remnants of so many peoples have 
become amalgamated, traces have survived of the most varied forms of worship. 
A Kurdish community in the sanjak of Sert, has even been mentioned as pro- 
fessing no religion. Amongst the tribes on the Armenian and Kurdistan plateaux 
there exist not only members of every Mohammedan and Christian sect, but also 
unconscious heirs of the old Persia.ii Mazdeism. The Kizil-Bashes, or " Red 
Heads," a term applied in Afghanistan and other eastern countries to peoples of 
Persian stock, are for the most part Kurds. Of 400,000 of these sectaries not 
more than 15,000 are of Turkoman descent, while two or three tribes call them- 
selves Arabs. The Red Heads, who are centred chiefly in the middle Euphrates 
basin, on the banks of the Ghermili and Upper Kizil-irmak, are included by the 
Mussulmans among the Christian sects, because they drink wine, allow their 
women to go unveiled, and practice the rites of baptism and communion. They 
are also accused, rightly or wrongly, of celebrating nocturnal feasts or orgies, in 
which unbridled licentiousness prevails. Hence the term Terah Sonderan, or 
"Extinguishers of Lights," by which they are commonly known. Their religious 
chief resides in the Dersim district, near the river Murad. 

Other detested sectaries are the so-called " Devil Worshippers." These 
Yezidi, or Shemsieh Kurds, although they number scarcely 50,000 souls altogether, 
are scattered over a very wide area. Their chief settlement is in the Sinjar hills, 
north of the Mesopotamian plain, but they are also found on the Van and 
Erzerum plateaux, in Persia ami in Trans-Caucasia, near the east bank of Lake 
Gokcha. One of their colonies is even said to have penetrated westwards to the 
Bosphorus, over against Constantinople. Hated by all their neighbours, persecuted 
and reduced by famine and epidemics even more than by the sword, they 


have nevertheless contrived to survive Eromage to age, with nothing to sustain 
them except their Faith, and the memory of their trials and afflictions. They 
pretend thai their greal saint, Sheikh Aili, wrote a code of doctrine, the so-called 
Aswat, or " Black " Book. But the assertion is unsupported by any documentary 

evidence. The autonomous Sinjar Vezidis, half-caste Kurds and Arabs, were 
mostly exterminated in 1838, when those who had taken refuge in die caves were 

smoked tn death, and their women sold into slavery. Since then no Ye/.idi com- 
munity has maintained it-- political independence. 

The accounts given by travellers of the different Yezidi tribes vary so greatly 

that these sectaries have lieen referred to several distinct origins. Those residing 
near the Armenians seem to belong to that ethnical group, and extant documents 
mention a Tillage in the Van district where the sect was rounded in the ninth 
century. In Sinjar, on the contrary, they are traced to an Arab source, and their 
cult associated with Islam. In Persia again they are regarded as (iucbrcs. Vet 

tiny are ( nected with the Mussulman world by their very title of Yezidi, derived 

from Vezid, the detested caliph, grandson of the prophet, and murderer of Hussein. 
Lastly, the Kurds confound them with the Christian sects of the lowlands, 
attributing to all alike every conceivable abomination. The ceremonies vary with 
every district. Some baptise their children and make the sign of the cross; 
others practice circumcision, which is prohibited elsewhere; in one place polygamy 
prevails, in another all are strict monogamists; formerly blue was chiefly worn; 
now this colour is held in horror, and replaced by white. 

lint the common bond of union between all the Vezidis, is the worship of the 
melek Taus, their peacock or phoenix king, Lord of Life, Holy Ghost, Fire and 
Light, represented under the form of a bird with a cock's head, perched on a 
chandelier. His "prime minister " is Lucifer, the morning star, still venerated 
notwithstanding his fall. Having themselves fallen, by what light, they argue, 
could they curse the fallen angel? And as they themselves hope for salvation 
through the divine favour, why may not Lucifer also resume his rank as chief of 
the heavenly hosts Y The prophets Moms, Mohammed, Jesus. Christ, may them- 
selves have been his incarnations ; possibly he has already returned to heaven, in 
order again, as supreme minister, to execute the decrees of the divine legislator. 
Thev are struck with horror when they hear the archangel's name blasphemed 
by Moslem or Christian; and the sentence of death is said to be pronounced 
against those amongst them who take the name of " Satan." Those who hear i< 
an- bound to kill, first the blasphemer, then themselves. They scrupulously comply 
with the orders of their priests, and many make the pilgrimage to the shrine of 
Sheikh Adi, on the route to Amadiah, north of Mossul. Their pope, or Sheikh- 
Khan, resides at Baadli ; but the sanctuary is in the village of Lalest, where lived 
a prophet, tin- •• Mohammed" of the Yezidi. Here are performed the greal 
ceremonies, anil here the holy effigy of the melek Taus is exposed to the veneration 
of the faithful. Travellers, and even Christian missionaries amongst them, unani- 
mously represent the Yezidi as far superior, morally, to their Nestorian or Gregorian, 
Shiah or Sunnite neighbours. They are perfectly honest, showing a scrupulous 



regard for the property of others. They are also extremely courteous to strangers, 
kind to each other, faithful to the marriage vow, and of industrious habits. The 
songs sung by them while tilling the land, or during the evening rest from labour, 
consist either of fragments of epic poems celebrating the great deeds of their 
forefathers, love ditties full of sentiment, or else plaintive appeals for redress. 
" The jackal preys only on carrion ; but the pasha drinks the blood of our youth. 
He severs the young man from his betrothed. Cursed be whosoever two loving 
hearts sever. Cursed be the ruler to pity a stranger. Its dead the grave gives 
not up, but the angel of doom our cry will hear ! " 

Of the Christian sects surviving in Kurdistan, the most important is that of 
the so-called Nestorians, a title, however, which they reject, calling themselves 

Fig. 64. — Catholic and Protestant Missions amongst the Nestorians and Chaldeans. 

Scale 1 : 5,500.000. 

C . of Gr 




Jacobites. Nestorians. Kizil-bash. 

Catholic Missions. Protestant (American) Missions. 
60 Miles. 

"Messianic Nazarenes," "Syrian Nazarenes," or simply " Nazarenes." Their 
language is an Aramean dialect derived directly from the Syriac ; hence the 
surprising facility with which they learn Hebrew, which the missionaries have 
introduced into their schools. Numbering, perhaps, 2(H), (1(H) altogether, they are 
scattered, like the Yezidi, over a vast territory ; and to them probably belonged 
the now extinct Nestorians of China, as well as the Nassareni-Moplahs of the 
Malabar coast, whose liturgical language is the Syriac, and who recognise as 
their head the Babylonian patriarch residing in Mossul. Their diffusion to such 
remote regions doubtless preceded the occupation of Mesopotamia by the Moham- 


medans, who < 1 i • 1 not invade the Julamerk highlands between lakes Van and 
Urmiah, where the Neatorians had their strongholds and mosl important communi- 
ties. Bui in I s 13 their villages were overrun by the surrounding Mussulman 
Kurds, who massacred the men taken in arm-, carried the women into captivity, 
and brought up the young in the Mohammedan faith. 

At presenl the Porte lias no more loyal subjects than the sun iving < 'hristians of 
Julamerk, who, like the neighbouring Curds, are divided into two classes, the 
assireln, or nobles, and the peasants, little better than slaves. They are governed by 
a sacerdotal hierarchy, under the patriarchate of a priest-king known as " Mar 
Shiinun," or "Lord Simon." The Nestorians trouble themselves little with the 
theological subtleties on the human and divine nature of Christ which gave rise to 
the schism of Nestorius. But ceremonial differences have sufficed to create secular 
hatreds between them and the other religious sects. The Chaldeans of Mesopo- 
tamia and Zagros, who are settled mostly in the Diarbekir district and north of 
Bagdad, have been united at least officially to the Church of Rome since the -i\- 
teenth century. Nevertheless they retain various old rites, and celibacy is 
restricted to the higher orders of the clergy. Recently, however, some of the 
Catholic missionaries have been endeavouring gradually to assimilate the Chaldean 
to the Latin ritual. < >n the other hand, the .Nestorians, who remained faithful to 
the old Hazarene cult of Syria, have since 1831 been brought chiefly under the 
influence of the American missionaries. These Protestant evangelisers maintain 
about sixty stations in the country, contribute to the support of the native clergy 
and schools, and have more than once protected their highland congregations from 
the Turks and Kurds. 


There are comparatively lew towns in these upland regions, which have been so 
frequently wasted by pillage, famine, and military expeditions. Half the popula- 
tion still leads a semi-nomad existence between the winter and summer pastures, 
residing during the heats in felt tents L5 to 20 feet high, for the rest of the year 
in hovels half buried in the ground, with grass-grown roofs rendering them almost 
indistinguishable from the surrounding land. Some of the powerful Kurdish chiefs 
possess huge stone houses, but always so disposed as to keep in view the horses who 
form their main pride and delight. 

West of Batum and the Chorukh delta, recently ceded to Russia, no town of 
any consequence occurs for a distance of over 90 miles along the coast. Atina, an 
old Greek colony, formerly known by the name of Athens, consists of a few 
scattered houses, and in the neighbourhood some mural remains mark the site of Eski- 
Tirabson, or Old Trebizond. Wesl of Atina follow the open roadsteads of Rizch, 
Of, and Surmeneh, beyond which comes the famous city of Trebizond, the Trapezos 
of the Creeks, founded some ~\lil»l> years ago by a colony from Sinope. Trebizond 
was the capital of Pontus, and in the thirteenth century became the metropolis of 
the empire which was founded by Alexis Comnenus, and which for over 250 years 



arrested the progress of Islam. Although now merely a provincial capital, it pre- 
serves a certain importance as the outlet of Persia on the Black Sea. Notwith- 
standing its unsheltered anchorage, it has at all times been the port where 
passengers and goods are landed for the Iranian plateau, and where the produce of 
Persia is shipped for the West. The route, carried southwards over the rugged 
intervening highlands, is essentially a historic highway, the shortest and easiest 
between the Euxine and North Persia by the BayazidPass and the plain of Erzerum. 
The section between Trebizond and Erzerum now forms a fine carriage-road 200 
miles long, accessible even to artillery. But the Trans-Caucasian railway from 
Batum and Poti through Tiflis to Baku, which must sooner or later be continued 
round the Caspian seaboard to Persia, is already threatening to deprive Trebizond 

Fig. 65. — Thebizond. 
Scale 1 : 215,000. 


JG5I T, 


32 to 76 

76 to 152 152 Feet and 
Feet. upwar.l-. 
3 Miles. 

of most of its trade. Nevertheless the imports and exports were still valued in 
1881, at £1,733,000 and £1,000,000 respectively; and since the interdict imposed 
by the Russian Government on the Caucasian transit trade, the French sugars and 
English woven goods intended for the Persian market have again been diverted to 
the old route over the Armenian plateau. 

Of the old ramparts, built in form of a trapezium, whence the name of the city, 
the lines are still marked by several ivy-clad towers and a ruined castle on the 
coast. The modern quarter of Ghiaur-Meidan, lying beyond the walls on a cliff 
east of the town, is occupied by Armenians, Greeks and the European merchants 
settled in the place. Here is also a considerable Persian colony, which supplies 
nearly all the local artisans. In an enormous cave on the Kolat-dagh hills south of 
Trebizond is the famous Panagia of Sumelas, the Miriam ana, or " Mother Mary," 
annually visited by 8,000 or 10,000 Greeks in the month of August. Even the 

182 SOUTH-WESTERN \>l \ 

Turkish women flock in large numbers to the shrine to implore her intercession 
against fever or sterility. She can dispel all calamities, bul is especially potenl 
against locusts, whence the title of " Panagia of the Locusts." by which she is 
known from Paphlagonia to Cappadocia. To the monaster] belong extensive 
diiinaiiis along the Euxine Beaboard between Trebizond and Constantinople. 

W'csi of Trebizond other Greek names recall the days when Hellenic influence 
predominated on the coast of Pontus. Tireboli, <>r Tara/m/itx, is one of the 
numerous Tripolis or " Three Cities," whose walls afforded a refuge to people of 
threefold origin. It has the advantage over Trebizond of lying at the mouth of a 
considerable stream, the Kharshut, which, however, flows through gorges too 
narrow to allow of a road being opened along its course. Farther on is the little 
seaport of Kiresun, the old Greek settlement of Kerasos, so named from the 
Armenian keraz, cherry, whole forests of which tree formerly encircled the town. 
But the staple exports at present are filberts, of which o,oH0 tons, valued at flit), (MM), 
were shipped for Russia and other places in 1881. 

Between Trebizond and Erzerum the chief station is Baiburt, which lies at the 
Cool of the Kop-dagh on the eastern bead-stream of thet'horukh. Like most other 
upland towns in Turkish Armenia, it is little more than a collection of hovels and 
ruins, commanded by a strong citadel dating from the Seljuk period. In the 
neighbourhood is a still finer castle, the Lihonis-kaleh, built by the old Genoese 
traders on the highway to Persia. The silver mines in the vicinity, as well as those 
of Ourmish-khaneh, lying further west in the upper Kharshut basin, are no longer 
worked, having been partly flooded since the middle of the present century, when 
they were the most productive in the Ottoman empire. The copper mine situated 
some 12 miles to the south-east of Baiburt, at one time employed 500 hands, 
and its deepest shaft descended 1,300 feet into the ground. The whole valley of 
Chorukh is strewn with the ruins of castles, churches, and towns. Yet the entire 
district might be changed to a vast garden, like the lateral valley of Toriuni, which 
supplies Erzerum with fruits ami vegetables. In the neighbourhood stand the 
church and monastery of Evek Vank, the most remarkable monument of Georgian 

Erzerum retains some of its former importance as the most advanced bulwark of 
Turkey towards Russia, and as the converging point of the caravans crossing the 
Armenian highlands, or radiating from this point towards Trebizond and Batum, 
Sivas and Diarbekir, Bagdad, Teheran, and Tiflis. Tin- transit trade between the 
Ehixine and Persia has greatly diminished since the completion of the Trans-Cauca- 
sian railway from the Black Sea to the Caspian ; and after the Russian invasions of 
1829 and 1 S 7 7 , the most skilful and industrious Armenian artisans, notably tin 
workers in metal, hit the city in the wake of the conquerors. Thus deprived at 
e of its trade and industries, and threatened with further aggression and politi- 
cal changes, Erzerum has in recent times suffered greater losses than most other 
Turkish towns. It is also avoided by strangers, owing to its excessively severe 
winter climate. Lying at an altitude of 6,500 feet above the sea, in a treeless, 
marshy plain, its Btreets are blocked by snow for more than half the year. But during 



the summer months it presents a more inviting aspect, with its amphitheatre of 
mountains and snowy cones, the grassy slopes of the lower hills, and the cultivated 
tracts of its fertile and well watered alluvial plain. 

The isolated hill crowned for centuries by the citadel of Erzerum, explains the 
choice made of this spot for strategical purposes. The ancient Armenian trading 
city of Arzen stood farther east. The fort of Theodosiopolis, erected at the begin- 
ning of the tifth century above the city of Garin (Karin), also took the name of 
Arzen, or Arsen-er-Rum, that is, " Arzen of the Romans " (Byzantine Greeks), 
whence the modern Erzerum. Few places have been subject to more frequent 

Fig. 66. — Euzi i;im. 
Scale 1 : 040,000. 

lir-stch// ~r.iAh- J8a 


. Ja§h 

L , of bree- 1 ■'. 

12 Miles. 

assaults than this stronghold, which was successively taken and retaken by the 
Persian Sassanides, by the Arabs, Mongols, Turks, and Russians, belonging in turn 
to every nation except the people in whose territory it stands. According to the 
vicissitudes of war, the population has fluctuated enormously. Before the siege of 
1829, Erzerum is said to have contained 130,000 inhabitants, who were reduced 
the following year to 15,000. Its only striking monuments are the picturesque 
gray basalt citadel, and the mosque of the "Two .Minarets," covered in the Persian 
style with enamelled porcelain. With the exception of leather-dressing, and some 
metal works, the local industries have almost disappeared, and the neighbouring 


mines are now closed. Yet this [a the traditional home of the first winkers in 
metal, those Tibarenians and Chalybes, who Forged arms, and bronze and iron 
instruments, at a time when their neighbours were still in the stone age. 

West of Erzerum, the main route follows the banks of the Kara-su (Upper 
Euphrates) down to the hoi springe of Ilija, the most frequented in Armenia, and 

across several populous basins alternating with narrow gorges. But for a distance 
of 12u miles no town of any size occurs, till the ancient city of Erfsenjan, or 
Erzifigan (Erez), is reached, which lies in a fertile plan watered by several small 

tributaries of the Euphrates. Even before the Christian era, Erez was famous as 
the sanctuary of the Armenian goddess, Anahid (Anaitis), who became successively 
the Artemis of the Greeks, the Roman Diana, and the Panagia of the Christians, 
when the old temple was transformed to a church of the Madonna. Before the 
rise of Krzerum, Krzenjan was the chief city of the llaik country, whence the 
Armenians take their national name of Ea'ikana : and even when visited by Marco 
Polo it was still a large place, where were produced the finest "bouquerans" 
(muslins;') in the world. Hut it was overthrown by an earthquake in Ki<>7, when 
half of the inhabitants perished in the ruins. Lying at an elevation of l.oilll feet, 
it enjoys a milder climate than Erzerum, and on its fertile plain are successfully 
cultivated the \ ine, melon, and other fruits of the temperate /one. 

Below Krzenjan, a bluff overhanging the Euphrates, before it plunges into the 
profound gorges lower down, is crowned by the walled city of K<nnikli, where the 
kings of Armenia at the beginning of the Christian era had their finest temples, 
their treasury, state prison, and tombs. But a still more remarkable place is Eghin 
oi- Akin, which stands on the right bank of the Kara-su ( Euphrates) above the con- 
fluence of the Chalta-chai. Here the river is deflected from its westerly course 
towards the Mediterranean, and begins to describe the series of bends through 
which it escapes from the Armenian highlands to Mesopotamia. In this romantic 
region Eghin occupies one of the finest sites in Western Asia, anil has become a 
favourite retreat for the Armenian traders who have made their fortunes in Con- 
stantinople and in the cities of the lowlands. In the tributary Chalta-chai valley 
the chief place is Divrig or Divrighi, which is supposed to stand on the site of the 
Nicopolis, or "City of Victory," founded to commemorate the triumph of Pompey 
over Mithridates. Goitre is very prevalent in these highlands, and especially in the 
Eghin district. 

East of Erzerum the main route to Persia crosses the easy pass of Deveh-boinu, 
hading from the Euphrates to the Aras basin, and formerly fortified to protect the 
city against the Russians. Here is also the old fortress of Htusan-kaleh, now a 
mere collection of hovels al the foot of a hill crowned by the ruins of a fort wrongly 
attributed to the Genoese. Below Eassan-kaleh the route bifurcates mar the 
Trans-Caucasian frontier, one branch running north-east along the course of the 
Aras to the town of Khorasnan, and thence to Kara, the other winding up to the 
Deli-baba Pass and down to the valley of the Upper Murad, or Kasteni Euphrates. 
lien- are Topra-kalefi, ahnosi entirely abandoned since the first Russian invasion ; 
Uch-Kilimi, or the "Three Churches," a much frequented place of pilgrimage; 



and Diyadin, at the foot of an ancient fortress at the junction of the head-waters of 
the Murad. Near Diyadin, now merely a ruined caravan station, formerly stood 
the great city of Zahratoan, destroyed by the Persians in the middle of the fourth 
century, when it is said to have contained about 80,000 inhabitants, of whom 50,000 
were Jews. 

Bayazid, which lies south of the main route to Persia, and of the water-parting 
between the Euphrates and Urmiah basins, replaced the old Armenian city of 
Pakovan, founded in the first century of the new era. The present town, which is 
named after its founder, Sultan Bayazid L, forms one of the most picturesque 
groups of ruins in Western Asia. The steep slopes are covered with an amphi- 
theatre of buildings, above which rise a half-ruined palace and a graceful minaret, 
commanded by a strong citadel. Still higher up a red marble crag streaked in 
white forms, with a snowy crest, a suitable background to this romantic scene. The 
palace, built by a Persian architect, was, till recently, the finest in the Turkish 

Fig. 67.— Uppeb Murad Valley. 
Scale 1 : 250,000. 





, 30 Miles. 

empire. Porticoes, colonnades, and walls are entirely constructed of the rich red 
marble from the neighbouring hill ; the interlaced arabesque and foliated sculptures 
display marvellous taste and delicacy, combined with a sobriety of judgment rare 
amongst Persian artists. The mosque has been degraded to a barrack ; the 
neighbouring buildings have been rent, and a large portion of the city levelled to 
the ground, by earthquakes ; but the graceful minaret still maintains its equilibrium. 
Convalescent fever patients were formerly sent from Erivan to enjoy the benefit of 
the pure air of Bayazid. 

Smith and south-west of the old lacustrine basin, where the Murad is joined by 
the Sharian-chai from the Pasin plateau, the course of the Upper Euphrates has 
not yet been entirely explored, although traversed by numerous travellers. No 
great caravan route runs in the direction of this upland river valley, which is 
inhabited by fierce and formidable Kurdish tribes. Amongst the tew centres of 
population in this wild region, the most noteworthy are Melezgherd (ManazgherdX 


snlTIl \\ EST! l:\ \-l \ 

which Buppliea a great pari of Armenia with salt Erom the Tuzla-su, or "Sail 
River," and Mush, capita] of the Paahalik, watered by the Murad. Mush lies ool 
,,n the river itself, bul on an extensive lateral plain at the issue of a rocky gorge 
commanded by mountains, <>n which the snow lies for six months in the year. Hut 
Lying 1,600 feef Lower down than Erzerum, it enjoys a milder climate, in which 
fruit-trees and even the vine are cultivated. The ruined citadel was formerly the 
residence of those Mamigonians who were governed by princes Erom Jenasdan — 

Fig. 6i> — HaYA7.II> — THI IfOMUa AMI 111 K Ul INKU U.LAKTKK. 

that is, China — during the first centuries of the vulgar era. In the Mush district 
were born two illustrious Armenians: Mezrop, inventor of the Haikan alphabet, 
and Moses, the historian. 

After its junction with the Kara-su, which flows from a " fathomless " crater 
in the plain of Mush, the Murad plunges into a deep gorge, forming a cataract, 
From the Bound of whose roaring waters the neighbouring village of Gurgnr, or 
Kurkur, takes its name. Although already very copious, the river is not yet 



navigable below this point. Dashing against its rocky walls, the current here 
recoils in swift eddies, or descends in rapids over the reefs. At certain points the 
hills running athwart its course confine it to a very narrow bed between vertical 
walls or abrupt escarpments rising several hundred yards above the stream. Near 
the village of Akrakii, the Mnrad is only some twenty paces broad, and assumes the 

Fig. 69. — Confluence of the Two Euphrates. 
Scale 1 : 640,000. 


12 Miles 

character of a regular river only after passing the town of Palu. But the attempts 
made to navigate it, from this place to the confluence of the two Euphrates, have 
hitherto proved unsuccessful. The current, which at Palu is still 2,880 feet above 
sea-level, is too swift for ordinary craft, which are here replaced by the kelleks, or 
rafts made of thin planks bound together with ropes and supported by inflated 
sheepskins. Six of these floats will cany four men over the eddies and rapids. 

lss m in \\ BSTEBN \sl.\. 

The la-t bridge across the river above Eilleb is at Palu, which is commanded by a 
picturesque citadel, traditionally attributed to the hands of genii. In the neigh- 
bour] 1 is a cuneiform rock inscription, and the district yields the best wine in 

Armenia. A little Farther south are the important iron-works of Sivan-maden, 
where the bills and valleys are strewn with rich blocks of black ferriferous ore. 
Near Sivan-maderj the water-parting between the Tigris and Murad lies \\ ithin half 
a mile of the latter river, whose chief northern affluent is the Mezur-su. .Near the 
junction is the wretched bamlel of Mazgherd, in which Taylor recognises the 
Iranian Eormuz-ghere, or "City of Eormuz." Eere Formerly >t < >< ><1 a fire-temple, 
whose remains, visible at a vast distance, are still venerated by the neighbouring 
Ki/il-hash and Armenian communities. 

Below the confluence of the Murad and Kara-su, the main stream is still locally 
knOWIl as the Murad, a name said to lie derived from the numerous forts erected on 
the surrounding hills by Murad I. The term Frat (Euphrates) borne by the 
Kara-su, is not usually extended to the united waters till they reach the plain. No 
large town has sprung up at the confluence, and Kyeban-maden, which stands on 
the left bank a little lower down, evidently owes its origin to the recently 
abandoned argentiferous lead mines of the vicinity. The cliffs here at intervals 
confining the stream to a narrow bed, also prevent the formation of roads, so that 
all the caravan routes, towns, and strongholds, lie higher up on the plateaux and in 
the lateral valleys. In the triangular space formed by the two Euphrates, the 
chief place is Chemech-gadzak, the ancient Hierapolis, which is enclosed on tine. 
sides by sandstone rocks, full of formerly inhabited caverns. On the western 
plateaus Arabkir, or "Arab Conquest," lies 2 miles south of Eski-shehr ("Old 
Town") in a depression encircled by black basalt scarps. This gloomy upland 
recess has been converted into a smiling garden by its industrious inhabitants, 
whose weavers import spun cotton from England for the local looms. 

The peninsular district limited north by the .Murad, west and south by the 
great bend of the Euphrates, is commanded by the Fortified city of Kharput 
iKarber<£), which overlooks a fertile and well cultivated plain, yielding all the 
fruits of the temperate zone. In the middle of this plain stands the town of 
Mizrrili, known also as " New Kharput." The "Armenian College" founded at 
Kharput by the American missionaries, has become the chief centre of public 
instruction for the whole of Armenia and Kurdistan. 

In the south-eastern section of the Armenian plateaux, the largest place is Van, 
which gives its name to the neighbouring lake. It stands about "J miles from the 
east bank in a level plain, surrounded on the north, east and south by bare lime- 
stone hills. The city proper is enclosed on three sides by broad ditches, and a 
double rampart of erenelled walls Hanked by towers. But the outer city, that of 
the Baghlar or "gardens," is far more extensive, stretching a long way across the 
fertile plain, which has given rise to the saying, "Van in this, heaven in the 
next world ! " In summer nearly the whole population leaves the inner town for 
the suburban district, whose glories are mostly concealed by high walls from the 
passing traveller. The wine of the local vintages is light and very pleasant to the 






L>_i5 !£ 



taste. The native women weave a species of goat-Hair waterproof moire antique, 
highly esteemed even in Constantinople. The walled town, like so many other 
places in Kurdistan and Persia, is sometimes known as Shemiram or Semiram. In 
this case, however, there is historical evidence to show that, before taking the 
name of Van, from an Armenian king, its second founder, it was specially 
designated by the title of Semiramgherd, or "City of Seniiramis." The historian, 
Moses of Khorene, who saw the magnificent palaces attributed to the famous queen, 
states that she brought from Assyria sixty architects and 42,000 workmen, who 
were employed for five years in the construction of those palaces and gardens which 
became one of the " wonders of the world." Here Semiramis chose her summer 
residence in order to enjoy the pure air of the highlands. Although no trace 

Fig. Til. — Lake Vax. 
Scale 1 : 1,500.000. 

E .• of Greenwich 40" 20' 

30 Miles. 

remains of the Assyrian buildings, the rock of Van, which towers in isolated 
majesty above the terraced houses clustering at its foot, offers none the less an 
inexhaustible mine of wealth to the archaeologist. This huge mass of nummulitic 
limestone, which is 2,000 feet long and about 100 high, comprises three main 
sections, all containing numerous galleries, flights of steps, crypts, and inscriptions. 
At all elevations the lines of cuneiform characters are visible on the bare rocky 
walls. Schultz, who was afterwards assassinated in Kurdistan, was the first to 
study them by means of a telescope erected on the top of a minaret. Rubbings 
were subsequently taken by Deyrolle, by means of ropes and ladders suspended in 
mid-air. One of the inscriptions, which, like that of Bisutun, is trilingual, relates 
almost in the same words the great deeds of Xerxes, son of Darius. But other far 
more ancient writings had long defied all efforts to interpret them, till they yielded 



up their secret to the patienl lahour of Professor Sayoe and M. Ghiyard. Their 
texts, composed in < >ld Armenian, are no longer a mystery, and the events here 
recorded in marble archives will gradually be revealed by these imperishable 
documents. Bui in the Van district there are other rock inscriptions, which still 
await an interpreter, for the attempt made by Sayce to find a key for their solution 
in the Georgian language of Trans-Caucasia cannot yet be regarded as entirely 


Topra-kaleh, another Assyrian stronghold, south-west of Van, has been recently 
explored by MM. Chantre and Barry. From the fortifications, which form three 
distinct systems of basalt walls and towers, a view is commanded of the vast 

Fig 71. — Tows ami Citadel of Van. 

m . 







amphitheatre of hills, and of the lake, in whose blue waters is mirrored the snow- 
capped cone of Seiban-dagh. Farther on, the town of Akhlat occupies a point on 
the lake, where the route to Mush and the Euphrates begins to ascend towards 
Lake Mazik. But little now remains of this formerly populous city, whose ruins 
are scattered amidst the Burrounding gardens, and whose tombs are still to be seen 
hollowed out of the surrounding sandstone rocks. East of Van the town of Erchek 
overlooks the southern shore of Lake Erchek or Erteeh, beyond which runs the 
border range between the two empires. Here the "Cut-throat Pass," familiar to 
the marauding Kurds, leads down to the military station of Kotur, which belonged 
formerly to Turkey, but which, by the Treaty of Berlin, has been ceded to Persia, 


together with a territory some 500 square miles in extent. The last Turkish 
valley in this direction is the lovely plain of AJbaga, which begins at the southern 
foot of the Bayazid Mountains. 

From Van is visible towards the south-west the hilly islet of Aktamar, which 
was formerly a peninsula, but is now about '2^ miles from the shore. To the 
Armenian kings, who long resided here, is due the church, dating from the 
tenth century, which stands in the middle of the island. It is the finest and 
richest in Turkish Armenia, and its patriarchs at one time claimed equal rank 
with those of Echmiadzin. In a river valley south of Van is another famous 
monastery, that of Yeddi-Kilissa, or the "Seven Churches," where young 
Armenians of good families are educated in a college, modelled, like the normal 
school of Van, on the training establishments of the West. The Armenians of 
this district are great travellers, thousands annually seeking employment in 
Constantinople and the cities along the Euxine seaboard, or visiting Bagdad, 
Aleppo, Vienna, Paris. The total number of emigrants was estimated at upwards 
of 30,000 in 1837, when the return movement averaged about 3,000 


Lower Kvrdistan, Mesopotamia, [rax-Akabi. 

II I". section of Western Asia watered by the two great rivers 
Euphrates and Tigris, is one of those regions which differ most 
from the surrounding lands in their physical aspect and historic 
evolution. Nowhere else do the outward conditions show more 
clearly how the destinies of nations harmonise with their sur- 
roundings. The civilisation of Chaldea and the Assyrian empire find their 
explanation in the Tigris and Euphrates alone. And as the name of Egypl 
conjures up the [mage of tin- Nile, at first pent up between two deserts, and then 
broadening out in an alluvial delta, so are the great arteries of tin- rich Mesopo- 
tamia plains at once suggested by the words Babylon and Nineveh. The 
importance of the part played in history by the peoples dwelling between Taurus 
and the Persian Gulf was not due to any special ethnical qualities, for the nations 
that have been developed in this region were composed of the most In u rogeneous 
elements. But Chaldea and Assyria were indebted for their long pre-eminence 
in the history of the old world precisely to this intermingling' of races in an 
environment favourable for their fusion, as well as for their social and intellectual 

The Iranian plateau, which skirts the plains of the Tigris on the east, is 
disposed like a transverse barrier, whence the running waters flow down to the 
lowlands. Mesopotamia itself forms a sort of emissary for the populations of the 
neighbouring uplands, who found easy access i . > the Tigris through its numerous 
lateral valleys. In the same way the inhabitants of the Armenian and Taurus 
highlands on the north and north-west, as well as those of the Mediterranean 
(•oast ranges, were all attracted towards the plains watered by the two great rivers. 
To all these immigrants from the surrounding plateaux it offered a vast and 
productive lowland region, where all the discordant ethnical elements could be 
blended in one homogeneous nationality. 


Historic Retrospect. 

As a historic highway, the united Euphrates-Tigris Valley occupied a position 
of supreme importance in the Old World. Here passes the route connecting the 
lines of coast navigation between India and the Mediterranean seaboard. The 
valley which continues across Western Asia the transverse fissure of the Persian 
Gulf, penetrates in a uorth-westerly direction towards the Mediterranean. Here 
it communicates through a breach in the intervening ranges with the Lower 
Orontes Valley, thus continuing the natural depression from sea to sea. Hence 
from the first rise of navigation the Euphrates naturally became the main high- 
way between East and West, offering in this respect analogous advantages to 
those of the Nile Valley. Babylonia thus became the natural rival of Egypt for 
the trade of the world, and the powerful rulers of both regions have ever aimed 
at the conquest or suppression of the competing route. During one epoch at least, 
Mesopotamia appears to have acquired the ascendency, and two thousand five 
hundred years ago Xabuchodonozor, already master of Teredon, on the Persian 
Gulf, occupied Tyre on the Mediterranean, in order to secure posses-ion of the 
whole route. The Euphrates thus becoming the chief commercial highway of the 
world, acquired even greater importance than the Red Sea and Nile Valley. But 
the Persian conquerors, familiar with the overland routes across the plateaux, and 
without experience of maritime affairs, arrested the movement between India and 

Alexander, in his turn, fully alive to the value of the great lines of communi- 
cation which fell into his hands as master both of Persia and Egypt, endeavoured 
to restore the Euphrates route. He removed the defensive works erected by the 
Persians, revived the port of Teredon, built fleets, and formed a basin at Babylon 
large enough to refit as many as one thousand vessels. Hence, not only during 
the Greek rule, but even after the time of the Seleucides, the Euphrates remained 
the chief line of traffic between East and West. Under the Arab caliphs, the 
Mesopotamian markets again acquired a prominent position in the trade of the 
world. And although this revival was followed by the silence of the wilderness 
under the Turkish rule, the first symptoms of returning prosperity seem to be 
already visible. The ebb of civilisation has set in towards the lands whence came 
the flow. Athens, Smyrna, and Alexandria have acquired new life, and Babylon 
will also rise from her ruins. 

Including the whole historic period, Mesopotamia is one of those legions 
which have enjoyed the longest culture. When the Medes and Persians inherited 
the Assyrian sway, thousands of years had already elapsed since the Chaldean, 
Elamite, Babylonian, and Ninivite dynasties had succeeded each other, and since 
their institutions, religions, and languages, had accomplished their evolution on 
the Mesopotamian plains. The riverain populations of the twin streams dated 
their legendary history from the time of the great inundation which gave rise to 
the myth of the biblical deluge, and even their authentic annals begin over four 
thousand one hundred years ago. But before that now definitely fixed date, how 


many generations must bave elapsed to bring about the thorough Fusion of 
Scythian, Iranian, Semite, and the other ethnical elements which gave birth to a 
culture parked by such uniformity in its religious, social and political aspects. 
Recent research eveu tends to Bhow thai the science of the Chinese, hitherto 
regarded as of spontaneous growth in Eastern Asia, derived its first inspirations 
from the banks of the Euphrates.* The magic of Babylon is found still practised 
by the Siberian Tunguses. 

Such was the pre-eminence of Chaldean civilisation that the surrounding 
peoples placed between the two rivers the legendary land where the first men 
lived a life <d' innocence and pleasure. Like other nations, those of the Euphrates 
basin reserved their special veneration Tor the region whence came their arts and 
sciences, and in their eyes this region became glorified as a land of bliss, a 
" Paradise," or an •• Eden," where death was unknown, where no tempting serpent 
had yet penetrated. As the Iranians turned their gaze towards the Elburz 
valleys, the Hindus towards the' - Seven Rivers" Overshadowed by Meru, so the 

Hebrews, of Mesopotamian origin, kept their eyes fixed on the land of great 

rivers, and their "paradise" was watered by the Tigris, Euphrates, and the not 

yet identified Pison and Gihon. Travellers ascending the Shat-el-Arab are si ill 
shown the site of paradise, where grow the palms of Korna at the confluence of the 
waters. Endless are the theories of archaeologists and biblical interpreters 
regarding the exact position of the garden of happiness as described in the Jewish 
writings. But may it not be simply identified with the arable zone irrigated by 
the two rivers and their canals, beyond which lay the sandy wilderness? In the 
cuneiform inscriptions Babylonia is always represented by the names of the four 
streams, Tigris, Euphrates, Sumapi, and Ukni, probably the same as those of 
Genesis. The word Eden, or Gan-Hdcn, would itself appear to be identical with 
that of (ian-Duni, one of the names applied to the land of Babylon, consecrated to 
the god Buni or Dunia.t Since the discoveryof the Zend and Sanskrit literatures, 
the name of "terrestrial paradise," localised by the legend in Aram Naharain, 
that is, " Syria of the Two Rivers," has become a floating- expression applicable to 
Kashmir, Bactriana, or any other fertile region of Hither Asia. 

Chaldea, towards which those western dreamers turn their eyes who still 
believe in a golden age of the past, could not fail to exercise a vital influence on 
the religion of the peoples civilised by them. The sacred writings of the Jews, 
accepted by Christendom, embody numerous passages transcribed from the 
Chaldean hooks, and even fragments in the Babylonian dialect. The legends 
associated with the lives of the Patriarchs, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, and 
contusion of tongues, are identical in both literatures; while the cosmogony of 
Genesis diifers little from that preserved in the surviving text of Berosus. But 
to the west Chaldea also bequeathed its secular science, its knowledge of the stars 
and their movements, the art of dividing time according; to the revolutions of the 
heavens. She taught the western peoples how to weigh and measure accurately, 

• Lenonnant ; Fritz Hommel ; Lepeins; Terrien de la Couperie. 
t II. Rawlinson, " Notes on the Site of the Terrestrial Paradise." 



besides a thousand primary notions in astronomy and geometry, traces of which 
survive in modern nomenclature. In commerce the Chaldeans were probably the 
first to employ orders for payment indelibly inscribed on brick tablets, an inven- 
tion which passed from Babylon to Persia, and thence through the Arabs to 
Europe.* Their influence made itself also felt in the art's' and literatures of the 
peoples inhabiting the whole of the Euphrates basin, mainly, however, through 

Fig. 72. — Mounds in the Tigris V alley, South of Seleucia. 
Scale 1 : 425,000. 

F . ot"G»-ep.uvtc^ 

Li Miles. 

the indirect action on the one hand of the Jews and Phoenicians, on the other of 
the Hittites, Cypriote, and Phrygians. 

In no region of Hither Asia is the ground strewn with more numerous ruins 
than in Mesopotamia. For vast spaces the soil is in some places mixed with 
fragments of bricks and earthenware. The so called tells or mounds of rubbish 
are dotted in hundreds and thousands over the plains, while a few remains of 
towers and crumbling walls mark the sites of largo cities, the very names of many 

* Lenormant. 

mo si irin-w i> i i.i.n \SLk, 

of which arc now unknown. But, like the neighbouring nations, those of the two 
rivers have fallen from their former pre-eminence in consequence of the gradual 
westerly movement of civilisation towards the Mediterranean seahoard, and thence 
tn Western Europe. Consisting of traders and agriculturists scattered over a 
plain exposed on all .-ides to the incursions of barbaric hordes, they were even less 
able to defend themselves than their neighbours. Their greal cities were sacked 
and razed to the ground, and the population reduced to scarcely five millions in a 
region as large as France, and Ear more fertile wherever artificial irrigation is 
possible. And even of these more than one half are nomads, whose tents are 
pitched on the verge of the desert. 

North Mesopotamia^ Orographic System. 

Of Mesopotamia the natural limits are the advanced spurs of the Persian and 
Kurdistan border ranges on the cast and north, and on the north-west the Tauric 
uplands, which have a normal south-westerly direction towards the Mediterranean, 
where they terminate in bold headlands. Bui within this vast amphitheatre of 
highlands, and even within the space enclosed by the twin rivers, the plains arc 
intersected by several independent ridges, separated by profound fissures from the 
surrounding orographic systems of Kurdistan and the Taurus. 

The Kara ja-dagh, south of the narrow rocky isthmus which rises between the 
sources of the western Tigris, and the sudden bend of the Euphrates at Telek, runs 
in the direction from north to south, thus forming the chord of the vast arc 
described by the Armenian border ranges. It is separated by a pass J, GOO feet 
high from the Mehrab-dagh, an advanced -pur of the Taurus, occupying the 
extreme angle of the interfluvial region. The Karaja-dagh is a huge mass of 
black basalt some ■" feet high, deeply scored by the beds of mountain torrents, 
such as the Karaja-chai, which flows from the north-eastern slopes to the Tigris 
below Diarbekir. Near the confluence it is joined by the Kuchuk-chai, another 
stream, whose right bank is skirted by a vertical basalt wall 230 feet high. 

Farther west the Karaja hills merge in the Nimrud-dagh (" Nimrod Moun- 
tains") and other ridges ramifying towards the Euphrates, and rising at some 
points to a height 2,600 feet, or some 1,500 feet above the level of the lower 
plains, liut in their western section these uplands assume mainly the aspect of 
plateaux. Such is the Kara-seka. a limestone table with a mean elevation of 
2,400 feet, interrupted at intervals by crevasses, which terminate ill circular 
cavities forming reservoirs for a little water during the rainy season. 

Towards the east the Karaja-dagh is separated from the Mardin uplands by a 
wide fissure some '2, olid feet deep, which presents an easy route for travellers 
proceeding from Diarbekir to the steppes skirted by the river Khabur. A com- 
plete geological contrast is offered by the two sides of the gorge, which is skirted 
on the west by steep basalt cliffs, on the east by chalk and limestone formation-, 
but the crests attain on both sides the same extreme altitude of about 5,000 feet, 
and are occasionally streaked with snow down to the end of April. The Mardin 



IlilK the Masioa of the ancients, are crossed l>y numerous passes about 3,300 feel 
high, leading from the Euphrates to the Tigris basin, while towards the west they 
are separated by a broad valley from the less elevated dolomitic Tur-Abdin mass, 
which is continued in the direction of the Tigris by the basalt Hamka-dagk and 
Elim-dagh. The Tur-Abdin crests are mostly treeless, and in many places destitute 
oven of herbage. But the plain at the foot of the southern escarpment, being well 
watered by the mountain torrents distributed in a thousand channels, has been 
converted into an extensive garden, as crowded with villages as the best cultivated 
regions in Europe. Here the mounds formerly crowned by temples and defensive 
works are now generally encircled by poplars. 

In this district the water-parting lies much nearer to the Tigris than to the 

Fig. 73. — The Makdin- Hills. 
Scale 1 : 1,750,000. 

L . of b^e^w-c 

Artificial Mounds. 

. 30 Miles. 

Euphrates. It merges southwards in the Kara-chok and Butman heights, which 
skirt the Tigris, and cause its bed to deflect eastwards. The Butman ridge itself 
is connected at its eastern extremity with the Sinjar, or Singali Hills, a low but 
conspicuous chain, penetrating south-westwards far into the steppes of central 
Mesopotamia. From the river banks nothing is here visible except the rocky 
escarpments of these Sin jar Hills, which stretch through the Jebel Akhdal, and 
Jebel Aziz, beyond the Euphrates westwards to the Jebel Amur, Jebel Ruak, and 
Anti-Lebanon.* Although rarely visited, the Sinjar supports a considerable 
population, thanks to the rains which feed the brooks on its slopes. The plains 
stretching thence westwards to the Euphrates were in the ninth century the 
* Anne Blunt, " Among the Bedouins of the Euphrates." 



Bcene of a great scientific event. Eere was measured a degree of the meridian by 

a group of Arab aatr mere, who Eound thai the degree was 56J Arab miles long. 

The precise value of this mile has not been determined; but in the calculation 
there appears to bave been an error, according to some of one-tenth, to others of 
one-fiftieth only, in excess. 

South of the Sinjar, the Mesopotamia!] plains are broken only by low mounds, 
nearly all artificial, and by rocky tables eroded by intermittenl streams. Hut 
east of the Tigris the land rises everywhere to lofty ranges intersected by the 
tributaries of the river. These highlands, which belong geologically to the Iranian 
system, run north-west and south-east, parallel with the Persian border ranges 

whose snowy peaks are visible from the Bagdad lowlands. Nort h-east of MoSBul 

Pig. 74.— Source of the Westebn Tigris. 
Soak 1 : eon.noo. 

IS MiloB. 

the more irregular uplands converge at several points in mountain masses with 
numerous peaks exceeding P!,()IM) feet in altitude. Such is the Tura Jelu, east of 
the Great Zab, which, according to Layard, has an elevation of over 14,000 feet. 
The main ridjre. crossed at sjreat intervals by a lew passes, and overlooking the 
villages and camping-grounds of the Ilakkari Kurds, runs from the lakes south of 
Lake Tan to the Persian border chains between the sources of the two Zabs. In 
this north-eastern corner of Mesopotamia the Kurd domain is limited by the 
sandstone .lebel Ilamrin, an almost geometrical square mass, furrow-ed by no less 
regular river gorges. All the highlands skirting the Mesopotamia]] plains are 
known to the Persians by the collective name of Pusht-i-kuh, an expression which 
occurs on many maps, but which belongs to no range in particular. It simply 
means the " mountains beyond." 


The Tigris Basin. 

The Tigris, the shortest of the two rivers whose united waters flow through 
the Shat-el-Arab to the Persian Gulf, rises in the neighbourhood of the Euphrates. 
The chief sources spring from the Utch-gol or " Three Lakes," near the Sivan 
mines, within half a mile of the deep gorge traversed by the Murad ; and the 
united stream flows south-west towards the Euphrates. But it is intercepted by 
another watercourse, also rising near the Euphrates, by which it is deflected south- 
wards. This is the Dijleh, which is regarded as the main branch of the Tigris, 
and which at first traverses the peninsular region formed by the windings of the 
Euphrates round three sides of the upland Kharput plain. Rising within a few 
miles of one of these sharp bends, the Dijleh begins by seeking an outlet from the 
vast circuit thus described by the rival stream. The Gbljuk, Goljik, or Golenjik, 
a brackish lakelet, here occupies a depression in the plateau some 200 yards higher 
up, whence emissaries flow both to the Tigris and the Euphrates. At least the 
level of the Goljuk was recently raised by a series of wet seasons so high that its 
surplus waters found an outlet at its south-east end towards the Tigris. A cutt inn- 
has even been undertaken to regulate the discharge, and convert the lake into 
a constant affluent of the river.* Thus have the two streams been made to inter- 
mingle their waters, as if to confirm the accounts of the old writers. 

On reaching the Diarbekir plains, the Shat or " River," as the Tigris is here 
designated, is rapidly swollen by the contributions received from the northern 
highlands. The Batman-su, one of the largest of these, resembles the main stream 
in the impetuosity of its current, and like it, takes its rise near the Upper Euphrates 
on the southern slope of the Mush hills. Lower down comes the Arzen-su, and 
the Bohan-su, with its romantic affluent, the Bitlis, from the heights skirting the 
south-west corner of the Van basin. 

Below the junction of the two Shuts, that is, the Dijleh or Western, and 
Botan, or Eastern Tigris, the main stream, already developed to one half of its 
full volume, turns south-eastwards to a rugged region where it flows for a space of 
about 40 miles through a series of profound limestone and basalt gorges. Beyond 
this point it merges on an open alluvial plain, but soon plunges again into a series 
of wild and inaccessible ravines. Here also the tracks leave the river banks, 
making long detours over the hills to avoid both the main stream ami the lower 
course of the tributaries, all of which flow through gorges 45 or 00 feet deep. 

Throughout the series of defiles, which begin at the Botan-su confluence and 
terminate above Mossul, the Tigris maintains the normal direction parallel with the 
border ranges of the Iranian plateau, which it preserves to its junction with the 
Euphrates. Throughout its whole course it receives large affluents only on its left 
bank, the drainage on the opposite side being almost exclusively to the Euphrates. 
But some of these affluents themselves occupy basins of considerable extent. Such 
is the Great Zab (Zarb-el-Kobir), whose head-streams drain the whole region com- 
prised between Lakes Van and I'riniah. The Little Zab (Zarb Saghir) also sends 
* Fanshawe Tozer, "Turkish Armenia, and Eastern Asia Minor." 


down ;i copious flood, Borne of which comes from beyond the Persian border. The 
Diyalah also, which joins the Tigris below Bagdad, receives numerous feeders from 
Persia, where they take their rise in the parallel depressions of the frontier ranges. 
Like the Tigris itself, the tributaries have to pierce a series of parallel mountain 
barriers before escaping from their old lacustrine cavities down to the Meso- 
potamia!] plain. On issuing Erom the upland Kurdistan valleys, the Great Zab 
flows easl of Mossul through masses of conglomerate, in a broad bed in some places 
over half a mile from bank to bank. The Little Zah also readies the Tigris 
through a succession of mountain gorges. South-east of a so-called "Gate of the 
Tigris," a fissure from L60 to 230 Eeet deep affords an outlet for the waters of the 
Diyalah across the red Bandstone formations of the Eamrin. Here the water 
collects during the rainy season in a temporary lake on the Ki/il-robat plain above 
the ravine. The Adliim, another affluent of the Tigris, flowing from the Pir 
• iiuar (iudrun, a holy mountain 8,300 feel high, forms a permanent morass above 
the Demir-kapu or " Iron Gate," by which it is separated Erom the alluvial plains 
nl Mesopotamia. 

Below all it- tributaries the Tigris overflows it- banks at several points, and 
sends eastwards the sluggish Iladd, which forms a junction with the Kerkha of 
Luristan. In winter the whole plain stretching from the Lower Tigris to the 
advanced -pur- of the Persian highlands i- converted into an inland sea, often 
ironically called the " Umm-el-Bak," or " Mosquito Sea." In summer there still 
remains a network of winding channels, navigable by boats for marly loo miles 
between the Tigris and Kerkha. 

At its junction with the Euphrates at Koma, the Tigris, contrary to the state- 
ment uf StrabOj is the more copious of the two rivers.* Between its source and 
mouth at the confluence, it has a total Length of about 1,200 miles, or one half that 
of the Euphrates, while the extent of its basin is also much less. But instead of 
winding through the desert, like 1 1 1 < • Euphrates alter Leaving the Taurus highlands, 
the Tigris continues to skirt the western escarpments of the Iranian plateau, 
whence it receives numerous feeders along its whole course. Rising many hundred 
feet above the Euphrates Valley, and pursuing a less winding, but more precipitous 
course toward- the Persian Gulf, it has a very -wilt current, whence its old Persian 
name of Tigri-, or " Arrow," which has replaced the Assyrian Hiddekel (Idiklat), 
still surviving in the Armenian Dikla and Arabic Dijleh. Owing to it- greater 
velocitv, it also loses Less water by evaporation, and develops fewer Btagnanl pools 
and swamps along it- bank- than doe-, the Euphrates. It is ascended as far as 
Bagdad by steamers of Light draft, which might even penetrate to Tekrit, GOO miles 
from the -ea. From that point to Mossul it i- open only to small boats, and thence 
to Diarbekir the only craft found on it- water- are the kelleks. or rafts formed of 
planks with inflated -heep-kin floats. De Moltke and Miihlhach were the tii-t 
Europeans to descend its stream on these frail craft, and thus explore the grand 
defiles through which the Tigris escapes to the plain-. 

• Mean disfharaje of the Tigris at I; t.-i i 1. 163,000 cubic feet per second; of the Euphrates at Hit, 
"2,000 cubic tei t. 


Tiik Euphrates Basin. 

Below the junction of its two head-streams, the Murad and Frat, or Kara-su, 
the Euphrates has already received most of the supplies that it discharges at the 
Tigris confluence. The head-streams have each an average width of about 850 
feet, with a depth of nearly 4 feet, and a velocity of 10 feet per second. During 
the floods, that is, from the middle of March to the end of May, it usually rises 
some 15 or 20 feet, and occasionally much higher. Before leaving the hilly region, 
the main stream still receives a few tributaries about the point where it describes 
the great bend west of the last spurs of the Taurus. Here the drainage of the 
Armenian highlands had formerly been collected in a lacustrine basin, whose old 
beach is still visible on the surrounding escarpments, and the alluvial deposits from 
which have enriched the Malatda plains. Few districts in Hither Asia have a 
more productive soil than this depression, which, however, is also one of the 
unhealthiest in Asiatic Turkey. Of the streams here joining the Euphrates from 
the western slopes the most copious is the Tokma-su, the Melas of the ancients, 
whose farthest sources are intermingled on the water-parting with those of the 
Jihun or Cilician Pyramus, which flows to the Mediterranean. The fertile 
Tokma-Euphrates plain lies exactly mid-way between Constantinople and Bagdad, 
and thus forms a central resting-place on this main route of the empire. Other 
historic highways also traverse the same basin, which forms the natural converging 
point between Armenia, Syria, Asia Minor, and the lower Euphrates. Forming the 
western continuation of the Upper Tigris Valley, it also offered the easiest line of 
communication for caravans and armies proceeding from Persia to the Ionian sea- 
board. Sculptured cuneiform inscriptions on a rock overlooking the Euphrates, 
where it was crossed by the main route, record the great deeds of some now for- 
gotten Persian conqueror, whose name still remains undeciphered. 

In the Malatia basin the Euphrates, still at an elevation of 2,800 feet above the 
sea, is separated from the lowland plains by the barrier of the Taurus. Turning 
first eastwards along the northern foot of the hills, it soon bends south-eastwards 
between rocky escarpments over 1,650 feet high. Here begin the " cataracts," to 
which the Turks have given the name of the " Forty Gorges." For a space of 90 
miles some three hundred rapids follow in such close proximity, that in many 
places after escaping from one the boatman hears the roar of the waters rushing 
over the next. At times the floating ice collecting about these rocky ledges 
presents a temporary bridge to the riverain populations. The dangers attending 
the navigation of this section of the stream vary with the height of the water, 
which sometimes flows in one sheet down an inclined plane, sometimes in cascades 
from ledge to ledge. Right and left the stream is joined by foaming mountain 
torrents, whose ravines often afford glimpses of the upper terraces, here clothed with 
a grassy sward shaded by widespreading walnut-tree-. 

One of the most dangerous of the cataracts is the first of the series on leaving 
the Malatia plain, where there is a fall of lb' in a space of L80 feet. Other formid- 
able rapids follow near Telek, at the point where the Euphrates, turning abruptly 


to the south and south-west, flows beneath the plateau on which the western Tigris 
takes its rise some l.:5()(t feet higher up. Sere the sulphur-charged waters, issuing 
from a fissure in the rock, are revealed at a distance by the wreaths of rapour rising 
above them. Lower down the stream is contracted by a projecting blulf front a 
mean width of 650 to about 10 Eeet. This defile is known as the Geik-tash, or 
" Stag's Leap," and one of the last of the series has been well named the Gerger 
(Uurgur. Ivharkar), that is, the " Roarer." Nevertheless the cataracts have been 
run more than once, as in 1838 and L839 by Von Moltke, at that time employed 
by the Turkish Government to survej the ground, and Btudj the means of trans- 
porting military supplies along tins route. I »n the first occasion he passed through 
safely; but in the sic. .ml trip, undertaken during the tl Is, lie escaped with 

difficulty from the rapids at Telek. 

On issuing from the gorges of the Armenian Taurus, the Euphrates skirts this 
range first on the east and then on the south, receiving from its slopes numerous 
torrents, and still forming a few rapids above the village of Kantara. Here the 
valley continues to be confined especially on the right side by chalk or limestone cliffs 
:{(l(l or KM) feet high. Hut from their summit a view is already commanded of the 
open Mesopotamia!! plains and the great river winding away between its sandy 
hanks westwards. for the Euphrates ill this part of its course is still flowing 

towards the Mediterranean, to which it approaches within 95 miles at the last hend 
between Rum-Kalah and Birejik. At this importanl historical spot converge the 
natural highways between the sea and the river. The very name of lium-Kalah, 
or " Castle of the Romans," indicates the importance attached by the Romans or 
Byzantines to this part of the river valley, known to the ancients as the Zeugma, 
the yoke or link between east ami west. Eigher up, the stream had been bridged 
at various times, and iii l.s:i(i Lynch discovered some remains, which seemed to be 

connected with these works. Lower down the chief Crossing for caravans is at Bir 
or Birejik, where as many as five thousand camels have at times heen detained 
waiting for the ferry-boats. As far as Balis, !>(> miles still farther down, the 
Euphrates continues to run nearly parallel with the Mediterranean; but here it at 
last bends to the south-east, henceforth flowing obliquely across the Mcsopotamiao 
plains to the Persian Gulf. 

The level plains on both sides are diversified by moderately elevated dill's, 
especially along the right bank, where the erosive action of the stream is most felt. 
lb re and there the hills terminate in bluffs overlooking and even contracting the 
bed of the river. Thus the Euphrates helow Deir is deflected hy the Jebel Abyad 
(White Mountain), westward to the gorge where it is joined hy the Khabur. 
Below Anah, and as far as Hit. the limestone cliffs skirting its course approach so 
near that no space is left for houses or gardens. Villages, such as lladidha, Id- 1 /., 
Jebah, and others, are either excavated in the rock itself, or else occupy the rocky 
islets in mid-stream, built like strongholds above the level of the summer floods, 
which here rise some 24 hot above the winter low-water mark. 

Navigable throughout a portion id' the year, at least for steamers of light draft, 
the Euphrates from Birejik to the sea has a fall of scarcely more than 8 inches in 






the mile. Ilence it flows very gently, especially in the dry season between the end 
of autumn and beginning of winter. Like the Nile, it also diminishes continually 
in volume throughout its whole course across the Mesopotamian plains below 
Birejik. At Iladidha it is fordable even for the villagers, and for camels at many 
other points, where the depth scarcely exceeds 5 feet. It is doubtless joined on 
both banks by a few affluents, such as the Sajur from the Tauric range, the Xahr- 

Fig. "5. — Caravan on the Banks of the Euphrates. 

Balik from the Urfa hills, the Khabur from the Tur-Abdin heights. Bui with the 
exception of the last-mentioned, the torrents reaching the middle Euphrates send 
down a considerable volume only during the rainy season. The other tributaries 
are mere wadies, dry throughout most of the year, and when flooded mostly used 
up in irrigating the surrounding fields. Several of these intermittent streams are 
thus completely absorbed by the reservoirs, or else are lost in the marshes. Such is 
the Wad- AH, which rises near Palmyra, and which although fully ISO miles Lone. 



presents generally the appearance of a dry watercourse. Such also are the Qharra 
and Hainan, whose broad beds, winding between high cliffs, arc little better than 
quagmires even in summer. Bui all these wadies of the Syrian desert are vastly 
, sceeded in extent by the Er-Rumen or El-Nej, which rises within some 30 miles 
of the coasl of Madian, and after describing a great bend southwards into the bearl 

Fig. 76. — Windings oi wi Middle Ehhuates. 

Scale 1 : 123,000. 

<y o 



E. of G^ee^^c^ 

42' SO' 


. 3 Milea. 

of Arabia, falls ultimately into the Lower Euphrates after a course of at least 1,200 
miles. This "waterless river" attests the great changes of climate that have 
occurred since the time when the rains were copious enough to develop such a 
mighty watercourse across the eastern -lope of Arabia. If account be taken of all 
the ephemeral stream- (lowing from the centre of the Arabian peninsula towards 
Mesopotamia, the basin of the Euphrates aud Tigris, usually estimated at nearly 


200,000 square miles, will have to be increased by fully a third. The mouths of 
the wadies are at times dangerous to pass, even when their dry beds seem perfectly 
level. During the great heats the ground becomes fissured by wide and deep 
crevasses, which the first rains, charged with tine sand, cover with minute particles 
of silicate no thicker than a sheet of paper. The space enclosed by the Kubeissieh 
and Mohammedieh wadies, which join the main stream from the western steppes 
immediately below the town of Hit, is occupied by vast layers of a bituminous soil 
covered with clay and gypsum. Countless grey eminences, dotted over the plain 
like the tents of a camping-ground, discharge from their bases smoking streams of 
asphalt with a mean temperature of from 75° to 85° F. The viscous fluid winds 
sluggishly over the surface towards the Euphrates. 

At the point where the western artery approaches nearest to the Tigris, and 
where the twin rivers run parallel, at a mean distance of 20 miles, the Euphrates 
flows at an elevation of about 10 feet higher than the Tigris, and consequently 
supplies the irrigation canals of the intervening plain. It appears at some former 
time to have even joined the Tigris, the slope between the two being uniform and 
interrupted by no intermediate heights. But the constant erosions in its right 
bank, and the accumulation of alluvia on its left, caused the two channels gradually 
to diverge, although still connected by lateral streams. The volume of the 
Euphrates thus continues constantly to diminish, and much of its waters also 
escapes through the ill-kept embankments to the surrounding plains, where they 
develop reedy marshes of vast extent. Above Babylon its course has been 
repeatedly shifted, now to the right now to the left, sometimes spontaneously, more 
frequently at the pleasure of Nitocris, Cyrus, Alexander, or other conquerors. 
During the epoch of the Seleucides, the main channel still flowed east of a slight 
elevation directly south-west of Bagdad, and winded through the plain within 15 
miles of the Tigris. Along this old bed are found nearly all the heaps of refuse 
marking the sites of former cities, no ruins of which have been discovered on the 
banks of the present channel. Some 50 miles south of the original bifurcation 
begins the branch known as *he Hindieh Canal, said to have been so named from an 
Indian nawab by whom it was repaired in the last century, although it appears to 
have existed under other names at a former period, when many cuttings were made 
to regulate the discharge. At present the Hindieh Canal diverts nearly half of 
the main stream westwards to the vast " sea " of Nejef. In this marshy reservoir 
much is lost by evaporation on its emerging to rejoin the river lower down. Owing 
to all these ramifications, it has become difficult to recognise the branch which ought 
to bear the name of Euphrates, which amid the Lamlun swamps is scarcely 250 feet 
wide from bank to bank. In the dry season it shrinks to 14 or 15 feet, with a 
depth of scarcely 2 feet, and when descending this channel Kemhall and Bewsher 
had often to drag their boat through the mud and reeds at places where thirty 
years previously Chesney's steamers had found from 13 to 20 feet of water. 

Farther down the Euphrates resumes iis normal proportions, thank-; to the 
Hindieh branch and to the riverain canals, as well as to the Tigris itself, which, by 
a remarkable phenomenon, after receiving the overflow of the Euphrates, becomes 


SOUTH VVES1 l.i:\ \S1 \ 

in its turn a tributary of it- rival. The canalisation system is, however, every- 
where so defective thai many channels, instead of ramifying into secondary rills 
and cuttings, become lost in vast pestiferous morasses. During the Hoods the 
dykes above Bagdad often give way. isolating the city from the eastern uplands for 
months together by a broad sheet of water dotted over with solitary eminences, 
whore the riverain populations take refuge. The inundations arc now no longer 

Pig. 77. — The EvPHBATES AND Lake Xkju. 
Scale 1 : 878,000. 


of GreeiwicW ~4-*l0 


1« Miles. 

controlled by all those lateral canals, which communicated with inland reservoirs, 
and thus protected the lower plains while harbouring the superfluous waters for the 
dry season. The eastern affluents of the Tigris, having a greater incline, are more 
suitable for irrigating purposes than the main stream. To the waters of the 
Klialis, a branch of the Diyalah, the plains of Bagdad are indebted for their 
exuberant vegetation. Here have for the first time been successfully introduced 
the improved European methods of irrigation. 



Efforts have at all times been made to established a sort of mystic contrast 
between the two great Mesopotamia!! arteries. In the marriage of the converging 
streams, the Euphrates thus represents the male, the Tigris the female element. 
Several miles below the confluence, the difference is still perceptible between the 
two currents in the Shat-el-Arab. The less copious and more sluggish Euphrati > 
sends down a warmer, more limpid, and regular stream, depositing its alluvia in the 
riverain marshes, while the Tigris keeps its sedimentary matter much longer in 
solution. Korna, where the confluence takes place, forms the southern extremity of 
the vast oval peninsula of Mesopotamia, the Jezireh or " Island " of the Arabs, the 
Aram Neherain of the Chaldeans and Egyptians in the Tutmes and Ramses epochs. 

Fig. 78. — Confluence op the Euphrates and Tigris. 
Scale 1 : 230,000. 

47 '20 

E . at G^ee^wich 


. G Miles. 

This insular region begins properly speaking at the Telek bend, where the 
Euphrates rapids are separated only by a narrow rocky barrier from the sources of 
the Tigris. But from the geographical, climatic, social, and historical standpoints, 
tin' true Mesopotamia is simply the plain in which are intermingled the irrigation 
canals derived from both rivers. Northwards this fertile tract is limited by a 
rampart running from the Tigris near the Samara bend, south-west towards the 
western extremity of the Saklaviyah Canal. This " rampart of Xemrod," as it is 
called, had a mean height of from 36 to 50 feet, and was flanked by towers at 
intervals of 160 feet; but in many places nothing remains of these work- excepl 
shapeless heaps of rubbish. 



The Euphrates is little used Eor navigation, although since L836 steamers have 
plied on its waters below Birejik. At various epochs since the time of Alexander 
it was utilised by the Greeks, and as man\ as I, lot) vessels were collected on this 
great highway of Western Asia. In peaceful times the middle Euphrates is 
accessible for eighl months in the year to boats 10 feel long, drawing 3 feet, and 
carrying cargoes of fifteen inns. Since 1563, when the Venetian trader, Cesare 
Federigo, sailed from Birejik down to Feluja, riverain porl of Bagdad, European 

travellers have frequently followed this route from the Mediterranean to the cities 

of Mesopotamia. Before the introduction of ateam the chief obstacle was the 

Fiir. 79. — Boats on the Ei ihkatbs. 

difficulty of stemming the current. Hence most of the boats, after the downward 
trip, were taken to pieces and sold for timber or fuel, the boatmen returning by 
land, as in the time of Eerodotus. The scarcity of wood on the Armenian and 
Tauric uplands contributes to render this traffic very expensive, and on the Lower 
Euphrates, below Hit and its asphalt springs, wickerwork craft are used, made of 
tamarind twigs stuffed with straw and covered on hoth sides with a coating of 
asphalt, which is found to be perfectly waterproof. Hundreds of such boats may 
at times be .seen spinning round with the stream, and laden with cargoes for the 
caravans awaiting them along the hanks. Uut since the expeditions of Cheeney 
and other British officers, the Euphrates has been sufficiently surveyed to organise 


a regular service of steamers throughout its lower course during the rainy season. 
But the towns that have succeeded Babylon and the other great cities of antiquity 
are not large enough to encourage such undertakings. From time to time a 
Turkish vessel ascends above Hillah, as far as Anah. But the small importance of 
the river as a navigable highway may be judged from the fact that nearly the 
whole trade of Anah with Bagdad is carried on, not by water, but by the land 
route running across the desert eastwards to Tekrit, on the Tigris. 

There is authentic record of the prodigious fertility of the Babylonian soil, when 
the fluvial stream was skilfully distributed over the riverain plains. Herodotus, 
who had visited the Nile delta, declined to describe the vegetation on the banks of 
the Euphrates, lest his account might be suspected of exaggeration. Even after 
the devastation caused by so many invasions, and especially by the destruction of 
the Assyrian works of canalisation, the harried southern section of Mesopotamia, 
so different from the arid northern steppes, continued to retain its exuberant 
fertility. It yielded a vast revenue to the first caliphs without the oppressive 
taxation which afterwards depopulated the land and caused the desert to encroach 
on the arable tracts. From a statistical report, made by order of Omar, it appears 
that certain districts, known as the Sawad, or "Black Bands," not more than 
2,7-j0,000 acres in extent, furnished a yearly income of no less than £-"3, 400,000 to 
the public treasury. Although greatly reduced, the yield is even now so 
considerable that one asks in amazement how so much can be drawn from the land 
under the present rudimentary system of cultivation. The Arab peasant selects 
his plot— some " khor," or marshy strip, with little but mud and reeds in the 
centre. Here he sows his barley, without clearing the ground or any preliminary, 
except, perhaps, scratching the surface with a hooked stick. Then the cattle are 
let loose to graze on the first sprouts of corn, after which nothing is done till 
harvest-time. Four months after the April sowing the crop is ready for the sickle, 
each grain yielding several hundredfold.* 

So much water is still drawn off by the somewhat primitive methods of irriga- 
tion, that the river becomes considerably reduced in certain parts of its course. 
Must of the peasantry water their fields by means of a contrivance which 
alternately raises and lowers an inflated goatskin. In more flourishing districts 
wheels are employed to raise the water to the stone aqueducts built on the summit 
of the cliff. Elsewhere the water is drawn directly from the river by means of 
channels regulated at the issue by a system of sluices. Such is all that survives of 
the colossal hydraulic works described by Herodotus, when the lateral reservoir 
supplying the network of rills was \ ;( >t enough to receive for several days the 
whole stream of the Euphrates without overflowing. The canal, attributed to 
Xebuchodonosor, which ramified parallel with the river from Hit to the sea, was 
no less than 480 miles long ; it has never been surpassed by any similar work, 
even in modern times. 

The old canals, whose remains are still visible along the riverain tracts, were 
of two kinds. Some, such as the Nahr-el-Melek or "Royal Stream," which ran 

* Baillie Fraser, "Travels in Mesopotamia." 



transversely with the Euphrates to the Tigris al Seleucia, were excavated to a 
sufficienl depth to allow the currenl to flow at all seasons ami scour its bed l>v erosive 
action. These were navigable. Others, used exclusively for irrigation purposes, 
were flushed only during the floods, thai is, precisely al the time when vegetation 
was mosl vigorous. Bui these rills were continually silting, and the mud 
dredged annually from their beds and deposited along both sides, gradually formed 
embankments rising from 20 to 24 feet above the surrounding plains. Some are 
siill in he seen exceeding '■'>'■'< feel in height. Eventually the labour id' maintaining 
such works became excessive, and fresh canals were dug, thus gradually covering 
the plain with a succession of lofty dykes. In many places the hori/on is bounded 
by five or six of these parallel walls, which al a distance look like the lines ,,| 

Fig. SO. Can.u.s oi Mesopotamia West ok Uaodad. 
Scale 1 : 500,000. 

12 Milts. 

entrenched camps. Nothing would he easier than to restore these old canals by 
clearing oul the sand and mud now obstructing them. Sumo partial repairs have 
already been effected, as in the Sakhniyah canal, which was navigated in July, 
l v: ' s , by a steamer down to the Tigris at Bagdad. Since then Borne other 
Babylonian canals have been restored. But the modern irrigating rills mostly 
lack the magnificent proportions of the older works, which ranged from 'lit to 
250 feel wide; nor are they provided with any of those paved or cemented 
reservoirs, a few of which are still to be Been here and then' in the interior of the 
laud. The Arab and other riverain populations still, however, understand the 
art of constructing the fluvial embankments, using tamarind branches and reeds 
to make their fascines, which being elastic, offer greater resistance than stone. 
The mud lodging in the interstices also contributes to their solidity. 



The Shat-el-Arab and Euphrates Dim \. 

A few miles below the confluence, the Shat-el-Arab is joined on its left hank 
by a considerable tributary, the Kerkha, flowing from the Luristan highlands 
mainly through Persian territory. About 500 or 600 yards wide, with a depth of 
from 20 to 35 feet, the Shat-el-Arab ranks among the great rivers of Asia, 
although it cannot be compared with such mighty streams as the Yangtze, Ganges, 
or Brahmaputra. It is even far inferior to the Danube, which, while rivalling the 
Euphrates in length, flows through a more humid region. Barnes estimates the mean 
discharge of the Shat-el-Arab at about 23-1,000 cubic feet per second. As the 
Persian Gulf has an average depth of some 200 feet, it would take the Shat about 

Fig. SI. — Hoi'Tiis of the .Shat-el-Arah. 
Scale 1 : 2,700,000. 

Sands exposed at 
l"\v -water. 

.. t. ..;■_' 

32 toet 


6-4 Feet and 

. 60 Miles. 

seventy years to till this cavity, were it to be dried up by any natural convulsion. 
The argillaceous particles held in suspense are deposited at the mouth of the river, 
where they have developed a crescent-shaped bar with scarcely more than 15 feet 
at low-water. Large steamers are thus obliged to wait fur the tide, which usually 
rises about 10 feet, or else force the bar by steam pressure. The alluvia, which 
arc continually encroaching on the gulf, during the sixty years from 1793 to 1853 
advanced, according to Bawlinson, some 3,500 yards, or at the annual rate of about 
(in yards. The whole delta appears to have thus pushed seawards about 90 miles 
altogether during the last 3.000 years. The plains of marine formation stretch, 
on the other hand, northwards to the vicinity of Babylon, where their origin is 
revealed by myriads of fossil shells belonging to the same species as those now 
living in the Persian Gulf. But while gradually gaining on the oceanic domain, 


the river itself i- continually -li i ft ii iu: its courae to the right and to the left, tlms 
displacing its bed Erom year to year and from age to age. There was a time 
when the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Karon, and even the Kerkha, reached the sea 
in independent channels. The twin rivers, united in their middle course, flowed 
Lower down in separate but parallel streams to tin- coast. The cuneiform inscrip- 
tions mention an expedition undertaken by Sennacherib against the country of 
Elam, in which he had to face the dangers of the Bea in order to pass Erom the 

inimtli ol' oik' to tliai of the other river. Tl Id independent channel of the 

Euphrates, the Pallacopas of the Greeks, now known as the Jahri-zadeh, lies 
some 12 miles west of the Shut -ol- A rab. Although frequently railed the 
" Waterless River," it is, nevertheless, Mill flushed by a branch of the Euphrates 
lor eight months in the year.* But the " Alidallah mouth," or embouchure of 
the Pallacopas, has been gradually obliterated by the marine current which skirts 
the Persian Gulf, flowing east and west from the Persian to the Arabian coast. 

The presenl estuary is also subject to displacements, and since the construct! I 

the first charts of the British Admiralty, it has shifted eastwards, thus approach- 
ing the old mouth of the Karon. This Persian river, which formerly found its 
way independently to the sea, is now connected with the Shat-el-Arah by the 
llalfar, an artificial canal excavated "J 1 miles below BasSOrah. The original 
channel of the Karon still exists under the name of Bamishir, and oilers to the 
Persians a separate commercial route, of which, however, tiny make no use, in 
order not to have the trouble of cleansing and keeping open the passage. 

The Shat and Bamishir mouths, the now forsaken channels, the upper water- 
courses, the intermittently flooded depressions, and the shallow, muddy shores, form 
altogether a sort of debatable region between the land and sea, which maybe 
compared with the Gangetic Sanderbans. But the impenetrable thickets of tangled 
stems and branches characteristic of the Indian delta are here represented only by 
patches of reeds strewn over the flooded plain. Even these disappear at high- water, 
when travellers, after crossing the bar and ascending the Shat, might still fancy 
themselves on the high seas. Nothing is now visible except the feathery crests of 
the palm groves showing in mid-air like flocks of birds on the northern horizon. 
The saline spaces rising above high- water mark are clothed with alkaline plants, 
while the tracts exposed to periodical fresh-water floodings bear the mariscus elatus, 
whose fibrous roots become so closely matted together that the whole surface 18 
completely protected from further erosions. The shallow muddy waters skirting 
the reedy zone harbour myriads of gurnards, which, by burrowing in the mud, 
gradually raise the soil, and thus promote the encroachments of vegetation. 

The fauna of the Shat-el- Aral) is partly marine. Sharks ascend with the tide 
a- far a- Bassorah, and even higher up, both in the Tigris and Euphrates. They 
also penetrate into the Karun, whose waters, flowing from the Khuzistan highlands, 
are much fresher than those of the Mesopotamian rivers. Within a lew handled 
yards the temperature differs by some 14 degrees Fahr. These sharks have been 
met as high up as the dam at Ahwaz, and even in the vicinity of Sinister. 

* Carl Ritter, " Amen," vol. xi. 


Climate, Fauna, and Flora of Mesopotamia. 

Along the banks of botli rivers, and in the steppes as far as the Sin jar and 
Mardin Hills, the summer heats are almost unbearable. In winter the cold is also 
acutely felt, especially in the open plains, where the stagnant waters freeze at night. 
When the keen north wind sweeps down from the uplands, the Arab horsemen fall 
prostrate on the ground, and the camels, numbed with cold, are unable to continue 
their march. The Mesopotamian region, which is indebted exclusively to its two 
rivers for its remarkable geographical individuality, thus forms climatically a zone 
of transition, in which the meteorological phenomena of the surrounding lands 
become intermingled, and in which are met the faunas and floras of diverse regions. 
While the northern districts are occupied by the advanced spurs of the Kurdistan 
highlands and by the first buttresses of the Iranian plateau, the vast interfluvial tracts 
form argillaceous or rocky steppes, where the vegetation fringing the right bank 
of the Euphrates is hemmed in by the sands of the desert, or by the saline 
efflorescences of dried-up morasses. On the one hand, the mountain slopes are 
carpeted in spring with flowers of every hue, and here the gazelle finds a shelter 
in the tall grasses. On the other, the arid soil yields little but a stunted growth of 
scrub, infested by wild beasts prowling nightly round the Bedouin's tent. Between 
Bagdad and Mardin no trees are to be seen, except in the cultivated depressions or 
on the summit of the hills. Nevertheless even the northern steppes contain some 
extremely fertile tracts, where millions of human beings might be supported l>v 
utilising the waters of the torrents and of the great rivers, In spring, hounds 
pursuing the game across the steppe return yellow with the pollen of the prairie 
flowers. The vast plain, green from February to May, yellow for the rest of the 
year, is connected by its mugworts with the Russian zone, by its mimosas with the 
Sahara, by its grasses with the Mediterranean basin. Most botanists have confirmed 
the statement made two thousand three hundred years ago by Berosus, that 
Mesopotamia is pre-eminently the land of cereals. Here was probably kneaded the 
first loaf; and in 1807 Olivier here discovered wheat, barley, and spelt, growing 
spontaneously in ground unsuitable for cultivation. Since then the same species 
have been found by several botanists in the region of the middle Euphrates. 

As we proceed northwards and eastwards, we traverse in- Mesopotamia a 
succession of distinct zones, separated from each other by irregular lines. The 
palm reaches northwards no farther than the southern foot of the Sin jar hills. On 
the Euphrates the last great palm-grove is that of Anah ; at Tekrit on the Tigris 
are to be seen the two last date-trees, pioneers of the lower Mesopotamian forests. 
They mark the natural limit of the Arab domain, which is succeeded farther north 
by the olive of Kurdistan and Armenia. Cotton grows on the plain of Diarbekir, 
hut nowhere beyond that point. Higher up the villages are surrounded by fruit- 
trees, such as the apple, pear, and apricot, common to Europe, although indigenous 
in Western Asia. But the cherry, so characteristic of North Armenia and the 
Euxine seaboard, is nowhere to be seen. 

Down to the middle of the present century, the lion still roamed as far as the 


ii. ighbourhood of the Mardin Hill- ; bul he lias disappeared from the banks of the 
middle Tigris ahove the Kerkha marshes. The elephant and wild-ox, hunted by 
the Assyrian monarchs round about Niniveh, have here been extinct for at least 
two thousand five hundred years. The wild-ass has also vanished, and the pelican, 
till recently sn common along the Euphrates, also threatens sunn to disappear, 111 
the steppe the most common animal is the jerboa, whose borrowings render the 
ground in certain places very dangerous for horses. The Euphrates lias preserved 

a few remnants ol' a fauna distinct Irniii that of the steppe. The great river has its 

own vegetation, its birds and wild beasts. Eerearemet the partridge, the francolin, 

the magpie, duck, goose, and other fowls, which are never seen straying far from 
the hanks of the stream. The iliin coniata, an Ahysinian bird, builds on the Hirejik 
heights, hut apparently nowhere else in the Euphrates Valley, lie is protected by 
the inhabitants of Birejik, who regard him as the patron of their city. The beaver 
has held his ground along the middle Euphrates, and the riverain marshes are 
inhabited by the trioniz euphratica, a peculiar species of tortoise about three feet 
long. Chesney's statement, that crocodiles infest the stream where it approaches 
nearest to Syria, has heen questioned by some zoologists. 

Inhabitants of Mesopotamia — The Arabs \\n Kurds. 

At all times, from the very beginning of recorded history, the population of 
Mesopotamia has been of a mixed character. The Iranians of the northern and 
eastern uplands, the Semites of the south and west, have met on the plains of the 

Tigris and Euphrates, where new ] pies have heen developed, differing from the 

original stocks, and distinguished, like the alloys of two or more metals, by special 
qualities. Assyrians and Chaldeans had their peculiar genius, contrasting with 
those of their Persian, Medic, Arab, Syrian, and Jewish neighbours, who have 
outlived them. Losing their political supremacy, they were either exterminated, 
or else absorbed in the victorious races, forfeiting name, speech, and the very 

consciousness of their nationality. Nevertheless, there still survives amongst the 
Kurds a tribe hearing the name of Aissor, which claims direct descent from the 
Assyrians. (Ivor the ruins of the Babylonian and Ninivite cultures the primitive 
elements were enabled to resume the ascendant, and at present Mesopotamia is 
parcelled out like a conquered land between the ethnical domains of the lowland 
Arabs and highland Kurds and Turkomans. In the middle of the seventeenth 
century, when the Turkish empire was engaged in warfare with Austria, the 
Shammar or Shomer Arabs of Nejd, taking advantage of the absence of the 
Turkish garrisons, seized some of the towns along the hanks of the Euphrates, and 
overran the plains as far as the Mardin Hills. The Anazeh, another Arab tribe, 
followed in their wake, eager to share the spoils of conquest, and after a pro- 
tracted ami sanguinary struggle, the whole region stretching from the Syrian 
highlands to the Iranian escarpments became divided between the two great tribes 
and their allies. The Anazeh remained supreme in the north-western steppes as 
far as the gates of Aleppo; the Shammars prevailed in the rest of Mesopotamia. 


"War, in the strict sense of the term, has ceased between the two rivals, but peace 
has never been concluded, and incursions are still frequent into the respective 

Since the Crimean war the Turks have retaken the riverain cities; military 
.stations have been established along the caravan routes, and some tribes have even 
abandoned the nomad life and become settled agriculturists. Thus the powerful 
Montefiks, that is, " United," formerly numbering at least thirty thousand tents, 
now consist of fellahin dwelling in houses on the lower Euphrates and Tigris. 
The Beni-Laam, comprising four thousand families, the Battars, Zigrits, Abu- 
Mohammeds, Shahs of the lower Karun, the last-mentioned largely mixed with 
Iranian elements, also form agricultural Arab communities in the neighbourhood of 
the large towns. But the change has been effected not so much by force as through 
the growing spirit of trade. The attempts made by the Turkish Government to 
compel them by force of arms to adopt a sedentary life have always failed. Those 
pass most readily from the nomad to the settled state who are engaged in buffalo 
and sheep- farming, while horsemen accustomed to the use of the lance can rarely be 
induced to leave the desert. Certain tribes have taken to living under reed huts in 
the midst of the marshes. Such are the Khozails and Madans, whom no conquerors 
have ever dared to pursue into their swampy domain. Other Arab clans, such as 
the Zobeirs, are engaged exclusively as boatmen on the lower Euphrates and 
Tigris. Mesopotamia boasts of no finer men than these robust watermen, none of 
whom can aspire to the honour of matrimony until they have made the trip at 
least three times from the Shat-el-Arab to the Tigris at Bagdad. 

The Kurds of the advanced spurs belong, like those of Persia and Armenia, 
probably to different races, although now assimilated in habits and pursuits. The 
majority are Mohammedans, but the Nestorians are also numerously represented, 
especially in the valley of the Great Zab, round about Julamerk. The Chaldeans 
have wealthier communities in the Mossul district than on the TJrmiah plateau; 
the Suriyam, or Jacobite Christians, number about thirty thousand in the Tur-Abdin 
Mountains at Midat and the convent of Der Amer. The ruins of seventy large 
monasteries attest the important position formerly held by this sect. In Upper 
Mesopotamia the Shemsieh, Yezidi, or " Devil Worshijjpers," have also found a 
refuge in the Sinjar Hills, where they long enjoyed almost complete autonomy. 
Other peculiar sects, remnants of the persecuted Gnostics, have also maintained 
themselves in the remote mountain retreats of Upper Mesopotamia. Mention is 
made of a highland community in the Mardin district supposed to be descended 
from the sun worshippers driven out of Harran, the city of Abraham. Threatened 
with death by the Caliph Al-Mamun, because they had no "book" like the Jews 
and Christians, they were compelled to conform officially to one of the tolerated 
religions. Most of them thus became attached outwardly to the Christian 
Jacobites, who occupied with them some sixty villages in the Mardin and Tor 

* Aua/.eh ;iik1 allied tribes : 30,000 tents, or 120,000 souls. 
Shammaia „ js.:;no „ 112,000 ,, 

— Anne Blunt, "The Bedouins of the Euphrates." 


Mountains. With ;i characteristically • b-iental power of simulation, they regularly 
perform the ceremonies prescribed by the patriarch ; lint they still secretly invoke 
the -un, the moon, all the hosl "I stars, ami regulate their lives according t>> the 
conjunctions of the planets and magic incantations. 

Tin. Sabian: — Mohammedan Sects. 

• in tin- Euphrates and in the Karon Valley there arc other Gnostic Christians, 
who are also said to have preserved some practices associated with star-worship. 
These are the Ilaraniks, or Sabians (not Saba-ans), BO named from one of their 
prophets, who call themselves Mandayeh, or " Disciples of the Word. "and who are 
by the Catholic missionaries usually spoken of as "Christians of St. John the 
Baptist," whom they claim as the founder of their religion. The Saliians appear 
to have been formerly very numerous, Forming in the Bassora district alone as 
many as thirty-six groups, some of whom comprised two thousand families. Hut 
in L875 there were only about one thousand on the banks of the Tigris, and eight 
thousand in the whole of Mesopotamia. On the Euphrates their chief village is 
Suk-esh-Shiok in the Monterik territory. Before the middle id' the present century 
all the Sabian priests in the Bassora district had been carried off by the plague, and 
their successors practised the outward rites alone, amongst which the most important 
is the frequent baptism of the faithful, a preliminary condition of tin- remission of 
sins. The Sabians are not permitted to dwell far from a" Jordan," or river, most of 
their ceremonies, including marriage itself, being celebrated in the running waters. 
They worship the cross, because the world being divided into four quarters, is itself 
the cross in a pre-eminent sense. Their religion, hostile sister of Judaism, Christi- 
anity, and Islam, is based on the Gnostic idea of the two principles formerly 
preached by their theologians and philosophers, at a time when the Sabians also had 
their period of literary activity. Like the Christians, Jews, and Mussulmans, they 
have their "Treasure" or Bible, called also the "Book of Adam," although posterior 
to .Mohammed, and composed in a distinct Semitic dialect. This language, however, 
has no currency beyond the sacred writings, the Sabians now speaking Arabic, 
like the other inhabitants id' the country. Polygamy is not prohibited, but they 
can marry only within the community itself. In civil life they are distinguished 
from the Mohammedans only by their greater honesty, the practice of which is 
indispensable lor all compelled to earn the respect, in order to secure the tolerance, 
of their neighbours. 

Like Christianity, Mohammedanism has given birth to a great number of sects in 
this region, ulnre mi many religious traditions have become intermingled. All the 
Eastern sects have their representatives in Mesopotamia. Here the Wahabis of 
Arabia have their jealously guarded communities; here the Babi of Persia hold 
their secret conventicles; here thousands of Mussulmans call themselves the 
disciples of the Akhund, the humble and poor priest of the Swat Valley in Afghan- 
istan. Amongst the Monteftks and other Arabs of the lower Euphrates and Shat- 
el-Arab, there are also said to exist some adherents of the religious brotherhood of 



the Senusiya, which hud its origin in Algeria, where it caused serious embarrass- 
ment to the French. Besides the persecuted sects, which are obliged publicly to 
simulate some tolerated religion, while practising their own in secret, there are 
villages in which two worships are held in honour. The inhabitants of Mossul, 
Moslem and Christian alike, have the same patron saint, Jerjis, or George. In many 
Mesopotamiun districts, and notably at Orfa, the Mussulman women bring their 

Fie. s2. — Diakbekik — Bridge over the Tigris. 

offerings to " Our Lady " in order to obtain children. If their prayers are heard, 
they never fail to resort to the church to return thanks, scrupulously following 
the Christian practice on these occasions. On the other hand, there are many 
Bedouins who would have some difficulty in Mating to what religion they really 
belpng. They fear the evil eye. and conjure it by gestures, like the Neapolitans, 
but they recognise no form of prayer, and are Mohammedans only in name. 

In the towns, the Arab population, intermingled with Turkish and Chaldean 

218 SMiniw i:-n:i:\ ASIA. 

elements, professes the Sunnite dogma. Nevertheless Babylonia contains, next to 
Mecca, the most venerated Bhrinea of the Bhiahs. Such arc Kerbela, with the tomb 
..I Hussein, and Nejef, where stands the domed mosque of Ali. Faithful Shiahs, 
fortunate enough to live and die in these holy places, have naught to Eear in the 
after life, and will !»• held unanswerable even Eor the evil deeds committed here 
below. Hence thousands of Persians and hundreds of wealthy Hindus hare settled 
either in Bagdad or in Ghadim, near the sacred tombs, and even in Nejef and 
Kerbela. Very numerous also are the rich Iranians who. not haying the 
happiness to live in the venerated places, seek alter death to have their remains 
here deposited. The transport of the bodies to Kerbela and Nejef, although at 
times prohibited, has remained oiie of the chief sources of traffic between Persia 
and Asiatic Turkey. According to a recent statistical report, the number yearly 
conveyed across the frontier averages about 4,000. But in L874, after the famine 
and great ensuing mortality, as many as 12,202 were registered. Several Arab 
tribes, carried away by the force of example, have also acquired the habit of 
consigning their dead to the holy Shiab cities, which have been gradually trans- 
formed to vast cemeteries. Owing to the decomposed state of the bodies brought 
from a distance, and to the absence of proper sanitary measures, Lrak-Arabi has 
become a chief locus of the plague in Asia. Of the forty last epidemics, as many 
as twenty-two either had their origin here or were disseminated through this 

Topograph? of the Tigris Basin. 

In the upper basin of the Western Tigris, the highest place above sea level is 
the mining city of Khapur (Maden-KhapurX standing at an altitude of '■'>. l~<<» feet, 
and 830 above the torrent. The neighbouring Mount Magharat yields an abun- 
dance of copper ore, which is partly smelted on the spot, but mostly exported to 
the industrial cities of Asiatic Turkey, such as Diarbekir, Erzerum, and Trebizond. 
Till recently, most of the copper utensils used throughout the East, from Con- 
stantinople to Ispahan, came from the workshops of Maden-Khapur. At the 
beginning of the present century, about four hundred tons of ores were annually 
sent down from the Upper Tigris to Bagdad ; but since then the yield of copper 
lias greatly fallen off. The argentiferous lead mines are little worked, and those 
of the precious metals are entirely neglected. A bluff overlooking the torrent 
south-west of Khapur is crowned by the town of Arghana, which from the neigh- 
bouring mines ah*) takes the name of Maden — Arghana- Maden, or " Arghana of 
the Mines." 

Diarbekir or Diarbekr, that is, the "Bekr country," so-nained from the Arab 
clan, Bekr, which conquered it in the seventh century, is the ancient Amid 
(Atnida), and is still often called Kara-Amid, or " Black Amid," from the colour 
of the basalt used in its construction. Standing at an altitude of 2,000 feet above 
sea level, with a climate like that of South France, Diarbekir occupies a \» culiarly 
happy position at the northern extremity of Mesopotamia, at the converging point 
of the chief routes between the Euphrates and Tigris basins, as well as of the 


Turkish, Armenian, Kurd, and Arab ethnical domains. It has the further advan- 
tage of commanding a vast alluvial plain of great fertility, a plain which has at 
all times been the "granary" of Western Asia. Hence the great importance 
enjoyed by Diarbekir in former times, when its inhabitants were counted by 
hundreds of thousands. During many a protracted siege, more victims fell beneath 
its walls than there are now residents in the whole place. The old basalt ram- 
parts, flanked with round towers still in good repair, have a circuit of 5 miles, 
sweeping round from a quadrangular citadel in ruins to a ten-arched bridge, the 
last structure of the kind now crossing the Tigris. Within the walls the city is 
gloomy, dull, damp, and unhealthy, with narrow, muddy streets, the widest of 
which scarcely exceeds 12 feet. This thoroughfare runs through the bazaar, 
which is well stocked with European and local wares, the latter including copper 
utensils, filigree jewellery, woollen, silk, and cotton fabrics. The bazaar is always 
crowded with a motley gathering of Kurds, Armenians, Turks and Turkomans, 
Chaldeans, Xestorians, Jacobites, Yezidis, Jews, Syrians, and Greeks, besides many 
Bulgarians recently banished to this place by the Turkish Government. Nearly 
half of the inhabitants are Christians, whose churches rival the Mohammedan 
mosques in number and size. 

The valleys of the Upper Tigris and its affluents aboimd in ruins, and the 
modern towns themselves stand mostly on the site of ancient cities. Of the older 
structures, the finest remains are those of a bridge, whose broken arches rise 80 
feet above the main stream, near its junction with the Batman-su. Xorth-east of 
Diarbekir, and on a tributary of the Batman, lies Maya-Farkein (FarkeinX the 
Martyropolis of the Byzantines, where are still to be seen the imposing ruins of 
the monument raised in the fifth century over the remains of several thousand 
Christians massacred by Sapor, King of Persia. Farther east, the Batman is 
crossed by a Persian bridge with pointed arches 165 feet high. The picturesque 
town of Hiizu (Khuzu, KAasuj, stands on the ruins of an ancient castle near an 
Armenian church yearly visited by numerous pilgrims from Syria, Armenia, and 
Russia. Serf, or Saert, also stands on ruins supposed by d'Anville and others to 
be those of Tigranocerta. The polished surface of the rocks in several places in 
this district bear Armenian inscriptions in the cuneiform character. 

But next to Diarbekir, the largest town in the Upper Tigris basin is Bitlis, 
which occupies a delightful position 8,000 feet above the sea near the south-west 
corner of Lake Van. Near it is an ancient fortress commanding the junction of 
the main stream with the Bitlis-su, a mountain torrent formed by the mineral, 
thermal, and other rivulets flowing from the Nimrud-dagh. Bitlis, which is partly 
inhabited by Armenians, has some weaving and dyeing industries, and enjoys a 
considerable trade as the chief station between the Upper Murad and Tigris 

The ancient city of Jezireh-ibn-Omer, or " Island of Omar's Son," Lying below 
the Tigris gorge on an island formed by the river and an artificial canal, despite 
its Mussulman name, was often the centre of non-Mohammedan communities. In 
the fourteenth century it contained a large Jewish colony, whose schools produced 

220 snrni-WT.STKKN ASIA. 

simir famous niliKis. About the beginning of the present century the Yezidis had 
made it one of their chief strongholds, but when the place was stormed by the 
Turks nearly all of them were put to the sword, ami Jezireh has since been 
occupied by the Kurds. In the neighbourhood grows a shrub resembling the 
evtisus, which is sometimes covered by thousands of cocoons belonging t<> a wild 
species of Bilkworm. From these cocoons the women of the district manufacture 
B \ cry durable silken fabric. Lower down is the decayed city of Eski- Mosml, OT 
" < >ld Mnssul," occupying a chalk terrace on the right bank of the Tigris. 

Mossul itself is a relatively modern place. I'm' it is first mentioned in Moham- 
medan times. But it stands on the ground which must have been Formerly 
occupied by the western suburb of Niniveh, on the right bank of the river. Like 
Birejik on the Euphrates, it lies on the natural highway leading Erom the 
Mediterranean along the southern foot of the Kurdistan hills eastwards to the 
" royal route " through Zagros to the Iranian plateau. Even caravans from 
Aleppo to Bagdad pass through Mossul, in order to avoid the territory occupied by 

the marauding Anazeh tribes. According to an old writer quoted by de Ghiignes, 
•■ Damascus is the gate of the West, Nishapur the gate of the East, and Mossul 
the high road from East to West." Although much decayed, like the other cities 
of the Tigris, Mossul still presents a fine appearance, its houses developing a rast 
amphitheatre within an enclosure <> miles in circuit, on the slope of the Jebel- 
.luhilah, an eastern spur of the Sinjar range. The summit of the hill is occupied 
b\ the dwellings and gardens of the better classes, while lower down those of the 
artisans and poor are crowded round the bazaars, baths, and mosques. Beyond the 
walls, the city stretches southwards through the suburb of Mahaleh, in front of 
which the Kurds stop and take their rafts to pieces. The public buildings, mostlj 
in bad taste, are noted chiefly for the beauty of their materials, amongst others 
the so-called "marble of Mossul," an alabaster brought from the quarries of 
Mekluh-diiijh, on the east side of the plain. Instead of exporting its delicate 
muslins to the whole world, as in the time of the caliphs, Mossul now imports 
nearly all its woven goods, the local industries being mainly restricted to tanning 
ami filigree work. Hut some trade is done in gall-nuts, cereals, and other produce 
from Kurdistan. 

At its narrowest point, some oGO feet broad, the Tigris is crossed by a bridge 
of boats, which is continued across the plain subject to floodings by an embank- 
ment winding amidst the fluvial channels. About a mile anil a quarter from 
Mossul, the east side id' the river is skirted by an extensive level terrace limited on 
all sides by ravines now choked with refuse. On this plateau stood Niniveh. By 
the Easser-chai, a small affluent of the Tigris, it is divided into two halves, each 
witli a circuit of over 5 miles. A square mound 60 feet high, pierced in all 
directions by galleries, stands in the northern section immediately above the 
Hasser-chai. This is the far-famed Kuyun jik hill, a huge mass id' bricks estimated 
at fourteen and a half million tons weight. The southern quarter i- commanded 
towards the middle of its western scarp by the Vunes-Pegamber, or Nebi-Yunas, 
another mound so named in memory of the prophet Jonah, whom Mohammedans 



and Christians alike believe to be buried there. A third less extensive heap of 
detritus marks the south-west angle of the terrace. But the whole place, exclu- 
sive of the suhurbs, which probably stretched beyond the enclosures along the river 
and highways, represents about one-eighth of the area of Paris. The multitudes 
spoken of in the Book of Jonah could scarcely have been packed together within 
such narrow limits. 

It had long been known that under the mounds facing Mossul lay concealed 
many curious vestiges of the ancient Assyrian capital. Travellers had detected 
the remains of buildings and sculptures, and had brought away inscribed stones, 
cylinders, and other small objects. But the first explorations were made in 18 13, 
under the direction of Botta, French consul at Mossul. Since then a new world of 

Fig. 83. — Mossul and Nintvbh. 

Scale 1 : 77,000,000. 


L . of G'-eenwc 1 ** 

2,200 Yards. 

art has here been brought to light, a new science has been created, unfolding the 
annals of Assyria, revealing the ceremonies and feasts of its people. But much 
still remains to be discovered. Even the Kuyunjik mound, examined especially by 
the English archaeologists Layard, Loftus, and Smith, is far from being exhausted. 
The rough plans, however, have been determined of the two palaces here discovered, 
which have yielded the colossal blocks, weighing from thirty to forty tons, now in 
the British Museum, besides the still more valuable libraries composed entirely ■•! 
brick tablets, each forming, as it were, the page <>f a book. The mound of Jonah, 
protected from profane hands by the Mussulman tombs and houses covering its 
slopes, remained untouched till 1879. Here Mr. Hormuzd Bassam has recently 
discovered the remains of the palace of Sennacherib. 

•2-1-2 SO II 1 1 \\ BSTEKN ASIA. 

But amidst all the deoris of Assyrian cities, the most carefully studied ruins are 

those of Klmrxtthad, or Khos-robat, lying some 12 miles north-cast of Mossul, 
far beyond the limits of Niniveh. lien' was tin- " Versailles of some Assyrian 

I. mil- \ I \ ." Tilt' city scarcely covcrcil much mure than an ana of One Square mile ; 

Imi its enclosure is well preserved, and the palace, methodically explored by Botta 
and hi- successor, Place, i- more thoroughly known in all it- details than any other 
Mesopotamian edifice. Tl was huilt between the year- 705 and 722 of the old era, 
under the reign of Sargon, whose bas-reliefs and inscriptions, covering a surface of 
more than a mile in extent, commemorate the hitherto forgotten glory and power 
of that monarch. Some idea of the prodigious labour represented by this " Cityof 
Sargon " fHisr-Sargon, or Dur-Saryukin), from the fact that the outer walls were 
no less than SO feet thick and lUO feet high. Near the palace stood the Zii/itrtif, 
or storied tower, perhaps an observatory, resembling the royal tombs of Egypt in 
its pyramidal form, ''tie of the mo-t remarkable finds of Place was an iron 
magazine, containing over one hundred and sixty tons ,,f all kinds ,,f instruments. 

East of ICoyunjik are the mounds of KiaramlU, and of the other Chaldean 
villages, the most famous of which, some 18 miles south of Mossul, hears the 
legendary name of Nimrud. It is now known that this hillock stands on the site 
of Calash, the first capital of Assyria, founded nearly thirty-two centuries ago by 
Salmanazar I. Later on it continued to be a large city, even after the royal 
residence had been removed to Niniveh. It occupied a convenient position uear 
the confluence of the Tigris and Great Zab, and amongst its monument- con- 
spicuous was the palace of Assur-Nazirpal, dating from the ninth century of the 
old era. The sculptures here collected are the masterpieces of Assyrian art, and 
the •■ black " obelisk is the most precious epigraphic monument of the empire. I Mi 
the Balatcat mound, 9 miles north-east of Calash, llassam discovered the famous 
bronze gates now in the British Museum, which are covered with sculptures and 
inscriptions commemorating the great deeds performed by Assur-Nazirpal 2,750 
years ago. 

.Many other mound- still harbour unknown treasures. All the cities of the 
plains had their temple and palace, anil the valleys of the Khahur and Great /ah 
contain numerous remains of struct tires built by the Assyrian kings, who spent half 
their time in the upland wooded region pursuing the chase. Some of the most 
remarkable sculptures in Upper Mesopotamia are carved on a rock overlooking the 
Dulap rivulet near Jfn/rni, "in miles north of Mossul. Still more curious colossal 
figures were cut in relief on a lime-tone wall in the narrow liavian Valley, 
separated by the Meklub hills from the plain of Mossul. 

At present the Great Zab basin is one of the most dangerous regions in Asia, 
being held by the fiercest of all the highland Kurdish tribes, who have been least 
affected by the influence of the Turkish and Arab Mohammedans settled on the 
plains. I hi.' were also situated the mountain Fastnesses of the marauding Nestorian 
tribes, who so long defied the power of the pashas. No record occurs of any 
Assyrian, Persian, or Greek conquerors who ever dared to penetrate into this 
dread* d region. All skirted it cither on the north or south, in order to reach the 



Persian tableland, or descended into the plains of the Tigris. Sehulz, the first 
European traveller who ventured into this district, in 18:29, perished, with all L i- 
companions. The Kurdish chiefs, formerly independent but now subject to Turkey, 
thanks to their mutual jealousies, reside during a portion of the year in fortresses 
surrounded by a few houses. In winter, on the return of the tribes from their 

Pig. 84. — Calash, and Confluence of Tigris and Great Zab. 

Scale 1 : 445,000. 


■■ -:* 

- ^ 




L , of [jre 



mountain pastures, these places become veritable cities. The most important is 
Julamerk, capital of the Hakkari Kurds, crowning a bluff on the right bank of the 
Great Zab. A little farther north lies the village of Koch ffannis, residence of 
the Mar Shimen (" Master Simon"), patriarch of the Tiyari (Nestorians). The 

Hakkari chief works some of the iron and lead mines in the Julamerk district ; but 



the great mineral wraith Baid by the missionaries to be contained in the surrounding 
bills is entirely aeglected. 

South of the Hakkari country, the town of Amadiah, 1 \ i 1 1 tr on a slope near the 
(treat /id> and Iihabur water-parting, was long a chief emporium of the highland 
K urda, who here assembled to effecl their exchanges witb the Mesopotamian dealers. 
A Jewish colony, compriaing nearly half the population, recalls that period of corn- 

Fig. 85.— IIakkaui Kt hd Tbtbks, Gbbat Zab Valley. 

Scab' 1 t.OO 


jf Achitha \ 


v Vr -*i» 


CheTkh Ad I ' 

4 5* 50' 


T O Bl 




L , of breer 

c- Miles. 

mercial activity. These Kurdistan Jews readily contract alliances with the Turk-, 
and have thus become gradually assimilated to the surrounding populations, from 
whom they differ little in appearance and usages. South of Amadiah stands the 
little temple of Sheikh Adi, with its graven serpent, symbol of the fallen angel. 
Hound about are disposed the altars which on the great feasts are lit up with fires 
of naphtha and bitumen. El Konh, another religious centre, and residence of the 


Chaldean patriarch, stands at the foot of a hill, which is honeycombed with 
grottoes, old dwellings, and tombs, and crowned with the monastery of Kabban 

Revandoz (Rowawtiz), lying between profound lateral gorges of the Great Zal> 
above the issue of the ravine, is a large place, whose inhabitants are crowded 
together within its narrow ramparts. Here are closely packed over one thousand 
houses, each with two or three families and even more. During the summer 
months the whole population, men, women, children, dogs, and poultry, pass their 
time mostly on the flat roofs strewn with foliage. Revandoz is visited bv the 
Mossul dealers, who here barter their European wares for gall-nuts and some other 
local produce. 

The chief market of the Kurds occuping the basins of both Zabs is Arbil 
(Erbii), the Arbela of the Greeks, which lies at an elevation of 1,430 feet beyond 
the mountain region, on a pleasant undulating plain opening westwards to the 
Great Zab and Tigris, southwards to the Little Zab Valley. It stands exactly on 
the ethnological frontier between the Arab and Kurd domain, but is little more 
than a ruin, compared with its former gi-eatness. The remains of the ancient 
enclosure may still be traced, and the old town occupies one of those artificial 
mounds, which are so numerous in this region. The explorations recently begun 
have already revealed vaults and galleries probably of Assyrian origin. Farther 
west extend the conglomerate Dehir-dagh Hills, pierced by ancient irrigation 
canals, which descend towards the Shemamlik plain between Erbil and the Great 
Zab. At Gaugamela, where this river escapes from its last gorge between the 
Dehir and Arka Hills, was fought the so-called battle of Arbela, which threw open 
the Persian highway to the Macedonians. 

In the Little Zab basin the only town is Altin-Kiopru ("Bridge of Gold,") a 
small place commanding the caravan route between the Erbil plain and the valley 
of the Adhim or Diyalah. It occupies an extremely picturesque position on a 
conglomerate island, steep and rugged above, sloping gently down to a sandy 
point at its lower extremity. The river is here crossed by a lofty pointed bridge, 
from whose parapets a fine view is commanded of the town and surrounding 
country. A little farther to the south-west begins the Khaza-chai Valley, 
occupied by Kerkuk, the largest place in Lower Kurdistan. Kerkuk consists in 
reality of three distinct towns — the fortress crowning an artificial mound 130 feet 
high ; the lower quarter, forming a semicircle round the foot of the citadel, and the 
mahaleh, or suburb, whose houses and gardens line the right bank of the stream. 
Here resides a dervish sheikh, spiritual head of fifty thousand murids ("dis- 
ciples,") dispersed over various parts of Mesopotamia. Here are also some much- 
frequented thermal waters and copious saline springs, and rich alabaster quarries 
in the neighbouring hills. A little to the north lies a famous igneous district, 
like the Phlegrean Fields of Italy, where was worshipped the godde>s Analiit. 
From its underground rumblings this land of fire has received the name of ISaba 
Gurgur, or " Father Grumble." The naphtha of Kerkur is forwarded to Bagdad 
and every part of Mesopotamia. Supplies arc also drawn from the bituminous 



springs oi Tuz-Khurmapli, farther Bouth, and of Kifri or Salahieh, a small place on 
a tributary of the Diyalah. 

Belovi the confluence of the Tigris and Greal Zab, the main Btream is lined 
with ruins, indicated from a distance by the tells or heaps of refuse, now clothed 

with grass and bru&hvi L Near one of these heaps, die highest in Mesopotamia 

above Bagdad, stands the village of Kaleh-Stiarghat on the site of the ancient 
Atsur, which preceded Niniveh, and gave its name to the Assyrian empire. In 

Fig. 86.— Kehkvk. 
Scale 1 : 45,000. 




1 1 Tarda. 

tin midst of the wilderness the Shammar nomads pitch their tents on the ruins of 
another ancient capital, whose very name of /'.'/ I fair or Hatra, seems to have 
meant "City" or "Residence," in a pre-eminent sense. On the banks of the 
Tartar, a streamlet flowing from the Sinjar valleys, stand the perfectly circular 
walls of a temple of the sun facing eastwards. This richly sculptured edifice 
dates from the period of the Sassanides ; but it stands on far more ancient 
foundations, some fragments of which recall the Chaldean epoch. 



On the Tigris the scattered groups of modern dwellings are usually indicated 
from afar by the encircling belts of verdure. Between Moasul and Bagdad the 
only oasis containing a large population is that of Tekrit, which i- situated below 
the fattha or cutting of the Hamriu. Here may be seen the black naphtha 
springs welling up from the bed of the river, and covering the yellow waters with 
their iridescent bubbles. The low houses of Tekrit are commanded by a vu-t 
ruined castle, birthplace of Saladin. Along the left bank of the Tigris follow in 
succession one of the many JEski Bagdad or " Old Bagdads," on the site of an 
unknown city, and Samara, now a small village, but in the ninth century capital 
of the empire of the caliphs. Near this spot are the remains of an earthen rampart 
known to the Arabs as " Nimrud's Wall," possibly a fragment of the " Medic 
Wall " which formerly guarded the plains of Lower Mesopotamia from the 
incursions of the northern barbarians. 

Bagdad (Baghdad}, which bears the official title of Dar-es-Salam or " Abode of 
Peace," stands on the site of an ancient city, whose name Oppert interprets by the 
Persian word bagadata or " God-given." But of this place nothing but ruins 
remained when Bagdad was rebuilt by Abu-Jaffar-al-Mansur. in the second half of 
the eight century. It lies in one of those regions where the converging historic 
routes necessarily give rise to large cities Here the Tigris approaches so near to 
the Euphrates as to form with it and the connecting canals a common hydro- 
graphic system. Here also the Tigris is itself joined by the Diyalah, which offers 
the best approach through the intervening border ranges to the Iranian tableland. 
But the very importance of Bagdad attracted the invaders, and few other cities 
have been more frequently levelled with the ground. Remains of galleries are 
still found below the surface, whose bricks are inscribed with the name of 
Xabuchodonosor. But the very vestiges have disappeared of the palace occupied 
by the renowned Harun-ar-liashid, contemporary of Charlemagne. Of this 
flourishing epoch Bagdad preserves nothing but the rifled tomb of Zobeid, 
favourite wife of Harun. 

The city founded by Ali-Mansur stood on the right bank ; but it continued to 
grow beyond its too narrow enclosures, gradually overflowing to the other side 
through suburbs and gardens, which have since become the true city. The old 
quarter, now sunk to a mere suburb, has lost its very name, and is now called 
Karshiaka, and inhabited chiefly by Arabs of the Aghed tribe. At the narrowest 
point of the river both banks are connected by two bridges of boats, each some 
730 feet long. Formerly Bagdad spread over the surrounding plains, where it 
formed an agglomeration of forty distinct groups, connected by lines of houses 
skirting the highways. At present it no longer fills the rectangular space 
enclosed by the ramparts, half of which is covered with ruins. Several quarter'. 
consist of wretched tumble-down hovels little better than those of the country 
villages. Nevertheless, taken as a whole Bagdad is one of the most prosperous 
cities in Turkey. As an emporium and station for the transit trade, it receives tin- 
produce and costly wares of the whole of Hither Asia, and the eight English and 
Turkish steamers now plying between Bassora and Bagdad no longer suffice for 



the riverain traffic in corn, wool, and gall-nuts. To the export trade the loeal 
industries contribute largely; the dates, fruits, and vegetables of the surrounding 
gardens are Famous throughout the Bast, and the native breeds of horses, and white 
asses speckled with henna, command the highest prices. Besides the Moslem 
colleges and the Catholic and Protestant missionary schools, Bagdad possesses a 
technical institution for the metal, textile paper, chemical, and other industries. 
It even pays some attention to hygienic matters, and a fine " people's garden,'' 

Fig. 87.— Bagdad. 
Bo lie 1 : 70,000. 


; ■■]' ' o'-'r ii't •*%**■ \s 


„ C ' WML'-"'. 1 ' • °LmI^L' 

\ \ fyi'F V-r && 

^^ \ * 409R9E WR*.':'/; . VS% 



X VN^/$F§^£?£ v^ 

x \ 

\ \ \\A- - • »• 

J WJ*- 1 ''^ 

44*eS* L . of G-eenwcr. 

•-V.'oO Yard*. 

watered by steam hydraulic works, has been laid out on the left bank of the Tigris. 
Thanks to the improved sanitary arrangements, the plague, which carried off or 
dispersed three-fourths of the population in 1831, and again committed serious 
ravages in 1N40 and 1*77, is continuously diminishing in virulence. Bagdad is 
also better protected than formerly from inundations by means of a lofty dyke 
(■(instructed round the town walls. But the " Bagdad date," another form of the 
" Aleppo button," attacks nearly all the native and foreign residents. 


The Turks have remained strangers in Bagdad as well us elsewhere in Meso- 
potamia, where they are chiefly represented by -the official and military classes. 
The city is essentially Arab, as much in speech and usages as in the patriotic 
feeling of the people. Yet the Jews form at least one-fourth of the urban 
population, being thus numerous enough to preserve the use of the Hebrew tongue, 
which they speak as well as Arabic. Most of the Iranians, including many of the 
Babi sect, are settled beyond the walls at Ghadim, Khatimaim, or Imam-Mu&a, '■'> 
miles north-west of the upper bridge over the Tigris. Above the houses of 
Ghadim rise the six minarets of the mosque containing the tomb of the Shiah 
martyr, Musa-ibn-Jaffar. Bagdad boasts of no monument comparable to this Shia 
sanctuary, which is approached by zealous pilgrims on all-fours, by fashionable 
worshippers in the comfortable carriages of the tramway. Over against Ghadim 
stands Madhim, another place of pilgrimage on the right bank, visited by the 
" orthodox " Sunnites. 

The Ghadim horse-railway forms the first section of a system of lines destined 
some day to connect Bagdad with Kerbela, Nejef, and Hilleh southwards, and north- 
wards with Khanikin or Khanakin, on the Persian frontier. From forty to fifty 
thousand Iranian pilgrims pass yearly through this place to the Shiah sanctuaries 
below Bagdad. Due north of Khanikin, in the fertile Diyalah basin, the modern 
city of Suleimanieh, dating only from 1788, occupies a strong strategical position 
in the heart of the mountains at the foot of the snowy Avroman, where it guards 
the Persian frontier and serves as a market for the surrounding Kurdish tribes 
In the same Diyalah Valley the large village of Bakuba lies some 30 miles north 
of Bagdad near the ruins of Deutagherd, another " Eski Bagdad," which has not 
yet been explored. 

The plain round about Bagdad is dotted over with numerous tells, one of which, 
the Tell Mohammed, stands at the very gates of the city. Another, 18 miles 
farther west, bearing the name of Kasr-Nimrud, or "Palace of Nimrod," is one of 
the highest in Chaldea, towering over 130 feet above the plain. Like the other 
mounds in this region, it consists of sun-dried bricks alternating with layers of 
reeds. Other barrows above Bagdad fringe the left bank of the river, like a long 
line of military outposts ; and below the Diyalah confluence heaps of bricks and 
earthenware mark the sites of the Madain or " Two Cities," ancient capitals facing 
each other on either side of the Tigris. Of Seleucia, the city on the right bank, 
so-named in honour of the sovereign who built it after the destruction of Babylon, 
not a single monument survives, and the traces of its square enclosures are 
scarcely to be recognised. A portion of this old Syrian capital has been swept 
away by the erosions of the stream, while fresh land has been added on the left 
side to the peninsula where stood Ctesiphon, capital of the Parthians. Of the city 
itself little remains except bricks and potsherds : but the palace of Chosroes 
Nurshivan, dating from the sixth century of the new era, still lifts its colossal 
gateway over 100 feet above the plain. This Tak-i-Kesra (Tak-Kosru), or Arch 
of Chosroes, leads to a nave 160 feet long, grouped round which is a structure 
several stories high, laid out in apartments of small size. The ornaments and 


sculptures have disappeared, bul the majestic archway, the onlj pre-Mohammedan 
Persian monument in l/nvir Mesopotamia, is all the more imposing in its naked 
BTandeur. Beneath this vaull the Arab victors on the fatal field of Kaderia found 
the throne, crown, girdle, and standard of the Persian monarch. 

Below .Madam many other hillocks recall the existence of vanished cities, while 
thesiill inhabited villages gradually give place to nomad camping-grounds. On 
the route, some 480 miles long, traversed by the steamers between Bagdad and 
Bassorah, there are only four stations, one alone of which, Rut-, l-Aiinirn , Founded 
in I860, has become a market for hundreds of tribes. Sere and there is seen 
Mime domed shrine, such as the " Tomb of Esau," and near the Euphrates junct ion 
that of Esdras, the latter equally venerated 1>\ Jew, Christian, and Moslem. The 
Shat-el-IIai canal, which branches from the Tigris at Kul -el-Amara, flowing 
thence southwards to the Euphrates, waters a cultivated and populous district, 

containing the remains of some of the oldest cities in Chaldea. Here lies Telle, or 
Tell Loh, the Sirtella ( Sirbula) of archaeologists, where the explorations of M. de 
Sar/ec suddenly revealed a remarkable period of art antecedent to the Nmiveh 
and Babylonian epochs. At that time writing had not yet acquired its cuneiform 

aspect, and each character still showed the vague outlines of the object represented 

under its hieroglyphic form. The monuments of Tello, sculptured in hard stone 
possibly brought from Egypt, there being none in the country, have been removed 
to the Louvre. 

Topograph? op the Euphrates 11\sin. 

The Euphrates, a less copious stream than the Tigris, farther removed from the 
fertile upland valleys, and hemmed in on its right bank by the wilderness, has 
consequently far fewer cities above Babylonia proper. Although its course marks 
the great diagonal line between the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf, it is a lifeless 
artery compared with its eastern rival. Bui formerly it was not so. From the 
issue of the gorges down to Susiana, the Tigris was lined by all the great Assyrian 
cities. lint in Lower Mesopotamia, south of the Medic wall, nearly all the towns 
stood either on the Euphrates or else in its vicinity. The contrast between the 

Assyrian and Babylonian empires thus corresponds to thai of the two rivers 


From the confluence of its two great headstreams down to the issue of the 
Tauric gorges, the Euphrates has nothing to show except a few insignificant 
hamlets. But in the lateral basin of the Tokma-su are situated the two capitals, 
Malatia and Azhuzu, between which nearly the whole urban population formerly 
migrated with the seasons. Malatia. the Melitene of the Romans, was resorted to 
in winter, hut quitted in summer for the more elevated and breezy Azhuzu. At 
presenl this movement has mainly ceased, most of the inhabitants having 
definitely settled in Azbuzu. a delightful place, where every house has its fountain, 
garden, or grove. Gurun and Derendah, the two chief places in the Upper Tokma 
Valley, are also mostly abandoned in summer, when the population removes to the 
sill-rounding districts. 



Samomta, former capital of Comagena and birthplace of Lucian, is now a 
ruined hamlet, less important than the small town of Suverek, which lies in a 
lateral valley on the route to Diarbekir. In this neighbourhood have recently 
been discovered the sumptuous sepulchral monuments of the kings of Comagena, 
ornamented with colossal statues over 50 feet high. The natives regard this 
structure as the tomb of Nimrod, legendary hero of Mesopotamia, whence the 
name of Nimrud-dagh that they have given to the surrounding hills. 

Below Samosata follow the Turkish town of Behesni and Rum-Ealeh, or 
" Castle of the Romans," former residence of the Armenian Catholieos. Here the 
Euphrates was at one time crossed by the great caravan route which has now been 
deflected southwards to Bir (Bir-al-Dirat or Birejik), where, according to the 
Greek legend Bacchus threw the first bridge over the river on his march to the 

Fig. 88. — AlNTAB AND BlREJTK. 
Scale 1 : 720,000. 

[, of Greenwich 57'50 

Artificial Mounds. 

2 Miles. 

conquest of India. An isolated bluff on the left bank is crowned with the 
picturesque ruins of a vast fortress, which formerly guarded the passage of the 
river at this point. Bir is inhabited chiefly by Turks, with an Armenian colony 
engaged in the transit trade, and near the citadel numerous Kurdish families, 
burrowing amidst the ruins and in the caves of the limestone rocks. In the 
district much barley is grown, and towards the west lies the mound of Ballcis, 
where were found some fine Roman mosaics and paintings. 

The main highway from Bir to Alexandretta traverses the small town of Nizib 
and its olive groves, where the Turkish defeat in 18o9 placed Asia Minor at the 
mercy of the Egyptian army under Ibrahim-Pasha, and led to the European 
intervention. The chief place in this region is Aintab, which develops an 
amphitheatre along the northern slopes overlooking the Sajur Valley. Between 



the town and river stands an artificial mound covered with the ruins of a now 
abandoned fortress. Aintab, which is inhabited chiefly by Turkomans, has lew 
industries, hut does a large transit trade, as the chief station between Birejik and 
the coast. Towards the south-west an artificial canal continued by a tunnel 830 

feet long, runs from the Sajur to the headwaters of the (iok-su, flowing southwards 
to the plains id' Aleppo. This cutting 1 , which dates from the thirteenth century, 
and which has been recently restored, thus connects the Euphrates basin with the 
closed depression of which Aleppo occupies the lowest Level. Roman ruins are nume- 
rous in this district, which lor four hundred years formed the frontier of the empire. 

Fig. 89.— Obi \. 

Scnle 1 : .10,000. 





58"55' E. of Greffn^eh 

2,200 Yards. 

On the right bank of the Euphrates, near the Sajur confluence, stand the remains 
of the temple of Jarabix (Jerablus), which till recently was supposed to have been 
that of the ancient Europus. But the explorations of Conder and Henderson 
have placed it beyond doubt that these are the ruins of Karkhemish, the long 
sought for capital of the mysterious llittite nation. The sculptures, carved in the 
basalt and limestone rocks, while recalling those of Assyria, present some original 
features. The inscriptions appear to be in hieroglyphic characters, that have not 
yet been deciphered. South of the Sajur, common limit of the Arabic and 
Turkish languages, lies the ruined city of Bambyce, the present Mambij, which was 



one of the numerous Hierapolis formerly consecrated to the sun and to the " Great 
Goddess." It bears also the name of Magog. 

East of liirejik the first great caravan station on the route to Mossul, is Ort'n 
(Urfa), the ancient Rohan and the Edessa of the crusaders. Standing on the west 
bank of the Kara-chai, which flows through the Nakr-Iielik to the Euphrates, 
Orfa is Hanked by the advanced spurs of the Top-dagh, and its castle, erected by 
Justinian, rises above a steep bluff completely isolated by moats cut 40 feet 
through the live rock. A triangular rampart strengthened with square towers 
separates the town from the wooded and fertile district watered by the Kara-chai. 
From the citadel, on the west, a view is afforded of the city, with its domes and 
minarets, and the vine-clad slopes of the surrounding hills. A spring, the ancient 

Kit;- 90— Oufa— Mosqcf, and Fountain; of Abraham. 

Callirhoe, still wells up at the foot of the castle, and overflows into a sacred tank, 
in which are mirrored the walls of a mosque consecrated to the patriarch 
Abraham, the Khalil, or " Friend of God." Two columns, traditionally attributed 
to the father of Israel, stand near the citadel, and the surrounding cliffs are pierced 
by at least two hundred caves, ancient tombs converted into modern dwellings. 
In the city are some mediaeval remains, including fragments of the palace occupied 
by the princes of Courtenay, rulers of Edessa during the Crusades. The buildings 
of Orfa are constructed of alternate layers of limestone and basalt, producing a 
very pleasant effect. The industries are restricted mainly to weaving and 
earthenware, but there is a large transit trade, and considerable quantities of 
wheat are uow exported. Hundreds of half-sedentary Bedouins and Kurds pitch 

284 SOTJTH-WESTEBH \s[ \. 

their tents iii the neighbourhood, and are employed by the French Consul on the 
extensive plantations of Mejeri-Khan, which, besides cereals, yield sesame, hemp, 
and cotton. 

All tlic cities nt 1 *]'!'< t Mesopotamia are associated with religious events. 
South of Orfa, sacred to the memory of Abraham, Harran, the ancient Charrce, is 
mentioned in Genesis as having been the residence of the same patriarch, and here 
star-worship long held its ground. Farther east Mardin is famous as a centre of 
the sectaries driven into the mountains first by the orthodox Christians, and then 
by the Mussulmans. Nearly half of the population belongs to various Christian 

sects — Chaldeans, Syrians, Jacobites, Armenians, besides the more recent Catholic 
and Protestant converts, who do not live in separate quarters. Mardin is thus a 
city of mosques and churches, colleges and schools. It is picturesquely situated 

3,950 feel above the sea, on a crevassed limestone crag crowned with a white 
fortress reputed to be impregnable. Some 15 miles to the south-east, the main 
route towards Nisibin and Mossul passes the issue of a gorge formerly defended by 
the Byzantine city of Dam. The crenelled towers, flights of stops, galleries, and 
colonnades, hewn in the live rock, have been preserved intact : but the crowds that 
once swarmed about the portals and temples of this great underground city are 
now represented by a few Turkoman families crouching here and there amid the 
caves and piles of refuse. 

Farther east lie Midyat, metropolis of the Jacobites, and the far-famed Nisibin 
(Nisihis). residence of Tigranes, a Roman bulwark against the Parthians, a •• second 
Antioch," said to have at one time contained several hundred thousand inhabitants. 
Its site is now marked only by the columns of a temple, and a bridge thrown by the 
Romans across the Jakhjakh, a foaming torrent rushing headlong down to the 
Khabur. In the Khabur basin to the south-west of Mardin, Sachau thought he 
had discovered the long sought for site of Tigranocertes in the Tell Ermen, or 
"Armenian Hills" near the village of Dunaisir. Bui no ruins have here been 
found. Ras-et-tin, in the same valley, was till recently the centre of Chechenz 
settlers from Caucasia, but most of these refugees from the Russians have been 
massacred by the Arabs, or driven to enlist in the Turkish police service. At the 
foot of the now almost desert plain runs the broken range of the Sinjar Hills, 
whose chief town Singaa, the Siagali of the Kurds and Beled of the Arabs, is the 
principal market of the Yezidis. In the Johol-Aziz, west of this range, rumour 
speaks of a " bottomless chasm," where the Yezidis make their yearly offerings of 
gems, gold, and silver, to the devil. 

On the banks of the Euphrates the ruined cities, all marked by mounds crowned 
with citadels, are more numerous than the still inhabited places, which are them- 
selves iiiusilv mere remnants of larger towns. Balk is reduced to a dilapidated 
castle standing on a chalk cliff, where the river trends south-east wards to the Persian 
Gulf. Thapsacus has disappeared, and Rakka, just above the Belik confluence, 
successor of the Creel: cities ,,i Jfikephorion, Kallinikon and Leontopolis, has pre- 
served nothing but a few fragments of the palace here built by 1 1 a run-ar-Kashid 
when he made it his capital. On the neighbouring Tertin plains were fought the 


sanguinary battles between the armies of Ali and Moavieh, which decided the order 
of succession in the caliphate at the cost of 70,000 Uvea 

Zelibi, the ancient Zenobia, perched on a crag on the caravan route between 
Palmyra and Persia, still shows a few scattered remnants of its alabaster monuments. 
The route is now guarded by the garrison town of Deir (ZW), the " Convent," 
which lies 240 miles below Birejik by water. The bridge connecting it with a 
large and fertile island in the Euphrates was swept away by the floods in 1882. 
Farther down, the Greek city of KirJcesioii, till recently supposed to, be the 
Karkhemish of the Hittites, has given place to the wretched hamlet of Bmeirah, 
south of which a steep rock overlooking the little town of Mayadini is crowned by 
the superb ruins of the castle of liahaba, supposed to be the biblical Rehoboth. 

Anah, the ancient Anetho, is a unique town in Western Asia, resembling those 
straggling places on the Ceylon and Malabar coasts, where an endless line of houses 
fringes the shaded highways. It extends some five miles along the west bank of 
the Euphrates, through a marvellous oasis of palm-groves, vineyards, figs, oranges, 
pomegranates, sugar and cotton plantations. Anah is the capital and chief market 
of the Bedouins who have their camping-grounds on the plains between Syria and 
the Euphrates. On the opposite side lies Barak, starting-point of the caravans 
proceeding to Tekrit on the Tigris. 

Farther down follow lladihah-el-Uz, Jibbah, and Hit, the last-named famous 
for its asphalte springs. Hit is also an important station of the transit trade 
between the two rivers, but here the chief riverain port is Fehijah, terminus of the 
shortest route from Bagdad to the Euphrates. Near it are the fertile plains of 
Sakkmyah, where are bred tens of thousands of camels and Arab horses, famous 
throughout the East. These grazing-grounds are continued southwards to the 
marshy tracts bordering the Euphrates in ancient Babylonia. 

" Great Babylon " itself is now nothing more than a plain dotted over with 
mounds and heaps of bricks, the remains of former palaces and temples. The 
space enclosed within the walls, 14 miles both ways, or some 200 square miles 
altogether, is now mainly a wilderness, although south of it lies Hilleh-ct-Fcidah, 
or "Ililleh the Vast," one of the chief inhabited cities of Lower Mesopotamia. 
Shaded with date-groves, surrounded by magnificent gardens, laid out with fine 
streets well kept and lined with rich bazaars, Hilleh skirts the right bank of the 
Euphrates, communicating with a suburb on the opposite side by means of a 
bridge of boats 660 feet long. 

The huge mound lying nearest to Bagdad, and specially known as Babil 
("Gate of God"), or Mujelibch ("The Overthrown "), has for two thousand years 
supplied the bricks used in building all the surrounding cities. Even now whole 
families, belonging mostly to the Babili tribe, who claim direct descent from the 
ancient Babylonians, are exclusively employed in quarrying these materials. But 
on the west side of the river the highest mound is the East; or " Palace," which 
dates from Nabuchodonosor, and which has a circuit of no less than 1,650 yards. 
Farther south, and on the same side, the Amran mound probably marks the site of 
the hanging gardens. During the epoch subsequent to the death of Alexander, 



tliis hillock Berved as a necropolis, doubtless owing to the advantages presented by 
the vaulted galleries supporting the upper platforms. Still farther Bouth the date- 
grove encircling the village of Jumjumah conceals all that remains of the market- 
place of Babylon, whence have been exhumed over three thousand tablets revealing 
the financial history of the Chaldean metropolis. <>n the righl hank, at Eilleh, 
which, according to Oppert, was the industrial quarter, mounds are of rare occur- 

Pig. 91.— Ths Mound 01 Habil. 

r 1 

- -r — ^ "-« 

rence, and all vestiges have vanished of the palace here erected by Semiramis over 

against the Kasr of Xalmchodonosor. The complete disappearance of the monu- 
ments west of Babylon must he attributed to the fluvial erosions which, have taken 
place chiefly on the right hank. Extensive strips id' soil have been swept away 
with all their contents, and replaced by fresh alluvial matter. Nevertheless one 
famous monument still stands towards the south-west , on the site of the ancient. 
Sorsippa, near the marshes, here stretching at some distance parallel with the 



right bank of the river. This is none other than the Birs-Nimrud, or " Tower of 
Babel " itself, traditionally supposed to be the oldest structure in the world, which 
was to have reached the heavens, but the progress of which was arrested by the 
" confusion of tongues." Yet this vast heap of earthenware has hitherto yielded 
no remains anterior to Nabuchodonosor, whose name alone is found inscribed on 
its brick tablets. According to Rich, it is 140 feet high, exclusive of a broken 
wall raising its total height to 175 feet, although Strabo gives it an elevation of 
one stadium, or 660 feet. As far as can be judged from its present aspect, the 

Fig. 92.— Babylon. 

Scale 1 : 375,000. 

L . ct bfee^vvcVi 

ra m 

Palm-groves. Tilled lands. Pasture Marshes. 

The double square of dotted lines marks the site of the old walls. 

6 Miles. 

west side was a vertical wall, while on the east side it formed a series of terraces 
disposed at equal intervals. Long a puzzle to archaeologists, this structure is now 
known to have been the "Tower of the Seven Spheres," a zigurat or observatory, 
like that of Khorsabad. 

It is not likely that either Babylon or any of the other ruined cities of lower 
Chaldca will yield any monumental sculptures or stone records, such as those of the 
Assyrian cities. Being an entirely alluvial region, South Mesopotamia offered no 
materials to the builders, except its reeds and scrub, its mud and asphalt, loosely 
worked up for the Arab hovels, more carefully cast in moulds for durable struc- 

■j:;s i SOUTH-WESTERN Asia 

tures. The stone required for the statues <>l u. "1 - ;m»l kings had to be brought from 
the Iranian border ranges, from the shores of Arabia, or even From Egypt. But if 
the ruins of Babylon cm tain few monuments or sculptures in stone, they a 1 ion ml in 
briek tablets of vast antiquity, carrying the records of mankind hack many 

centuries nearer to the origin of human culture. On a canal north of Babel si 1 

the twin cities of Sippar and Aghadeh, which flourished some forty centuries ago, 
when the extinct Akkad and Samar nations were struggling for empire. In the 
same district are the Abu-Hubbd mounds, with the remains id' the temple of the 
sun, where dwelt Xisuthrus, king of the Chaldeans. The marshy and often 
flooded region of the lower Euphrates smith of Babel is dotted over with the 
mounds of the ancient Erckli (?'/•»/), the Orkln- of the ({reeks, and Warka of the 
Arabs. This was the city of " books," containing the oldest library in Chaldea, 
and here hopes are entertained of some day discovering the whole poetic Legend of 
Isdubar, some fragments only of which have yet been found. The history of the 
Deluge, recorded originally on the bricks of Ninivch, has also been procured in 
duplicate at Krekh. This place is surrounded by vast cemeteries, extending for 
many miles in some directions. The dead were doubtless sent from all parts of 
Mesopotamia to be buried here, just as they are ^till sent from Persia to Kerbela. 

In the early Chaldean epochs, other great cities stretched farther south of Babylon. 
Such was Ur, a nourishing place four thousand years ago, of which nothing now 
remains except an imposing mound, the Mugheir or " Bitumen " of the Arabs, so 

named from the material used in cementing its brick edifices. 

Babylon, heir of all these venerable cities, preserves the prestige conferred by 
long ages of culture and power. The Bedouin approaches its mighty remains 
with awe The dews, recalling the " Halls of Babylon," where their fathers wept, 
look on the place of their captivity as a second fatherland. Here was the seat of a 
famous school, whence came the learned Rabbi llillel. whose teachings were enrolled 
in the Talmud, and here was also the birthplace of the Kabbala. At the time of the 
journey of Benjamin of Tudelas, in the twelfth century, as many as twenty thousand 
Jews were settled within the enclosures of ancient Babylon. All the money- 
lenders of Hilleh are still Jews, and they also hold in mortgage most of the 
surrounding lands and bouses. South of the ruins lies their colony of Kifil, 
grouped round a tomb believed by them to be that of their prophet Kzekiel. To 
this venerated shrine flock Jewish pilgrims from all quarters, and as many as 
twenty thousand have at times been encamped on the plain round about the 

The memories of great Babylon may possibly have also intensified the fervour 
of the Shiah pilgrims, who gather from the extremities of Persia, from India and 
the Caucasus, at tin' holy cities of Kerbela and Nejef. The former, lying north- 
west of Babylon, west of Tuerij, on the Ilindieh, is surrounded by swamps and 
stagnant waters caused by the overflow of the great canal which runs from the 
Euphrates to the Nejef lagoon. Kerbela is encircled by avenues of palms, which 
partly shelter it from the malaria of the neighbouring marshes. But in the very 
heart id* the city, which is also known as Meshed-Huasein, stands the cemetery; 



or rather the whole place is one vast necropolis. The very houses serve as graves, 
and earth extracted from them to make room for the dead is retailed in talismanic 
cakes to the pilgrims. The inhabitants themselves, amongst whom are some 
thousand Hindus, are chiefly occupied in burying the dead brought hither from all 
parts of the Shiah world, even from Bombay itself on board the English steamers. 
Thus the living are ever in contact with the dead, especially in the month of 
February, when the faithful come to lament over the murder of Hussein. In 
March they pass on to Nejef, or Meshed-Ali, the city of the " Martyr Ali," beneath 
whose lofty mosque with its gilded domes the bodies are deposited in a vast three- 
storied crypt, taking precedence according to the price paid by their heirs. A group 
of hovels a little to the east of Xejef is all that remains of Kufa, which was at one 

Fig. 93. — Old Cities of Chaldea. 
Scalp 1 : 5.425 o<yv 


Old Gulf. 

120 Miles. 

rime capital of the caliphate, and which is said to have been as large as Babylon 
itself. But this renowned city of letters and art is now known only by those 
beautiful inscriptions in " Kufic letters " which embellish all the palaces and 
moscpies of the great architectural epoch of Islam. Pilgrims proceeding to the 
shrine of Ali avoid this place, which they regard as accursed, because here stands 
the roofless and dilapidated mosque the scene of Ali's murder. Of JTtrrfalso, another 
great city, nothing is left but ruins. Near Kerbela is the village of El-Kadder, 
the ancient Kadesia, where was fought the battle which put an end to the national 
monarchy of Persia. In 1801 the Wahabitea seized and plundered Kerbela. 

Below Babylon the formerly populous banks of the Euphrates are net vet quite 
deserted. One of the routes to Xejef traverses the village of Divanieh on the right 


side, which i^ here Eringed with rioe-grooods. Lower down on the same side lie 
Satnava, at the mouth of the Shenafieh canal, and Nazriili, a modern place near the 
junction of the Euphrates and Shat-el-Hai. The latter is inhabited by Arabs of 

the Montetik tribe, as i> also Sllk-esh-Shiokh, which is situated near the marshes, 
and which is said to have Eormerly contained ;h many as 7(1,000 inhabitants. 
This: is the only place where the Sabians have a church. 

At the confluence of the two rivers stands Kama, traditionally supposed to be 
the "City of Paradise," where may still be -ecu the "tree of the knowledge of 
good and evil." But little trade i- hen- dune, the chief port on the Shat-el-Arab 
lying lower down at Bassorah (Basrah), about midway between Corna and the sea. 
When Bagdad was one of the great cities of the world, Bassorah, which at that 
time stood farther west, on a canal communicating with the main stream, was the 
busiesl port in the blast, and contained many hundred thousand inhabitants. But 
partly through inundations, partly through the silting of the canals, it lost all its 
trade, and of the old town nothing remains except a heap of bricks near the little 
towns of Znlicir, and Jebel-Sinan, the latter of which has been identified with the 
Teredun of Xabuchodonosor and Alexander. The new town of Bassorah, dating at 
least from the sixteenth century, lies nearly 'J miles west of the Shat-el-Arab, on a 
canal at the mouth of which the English have established their dockyards and 
warehouses. The Turkish arsenal lies .'5 miles higher up, at the busy little town of 
Maaghil. Hundreds id' millions of date-palms, noted for their exquisite flavour, 
flourish in the moist district of Bassorah, the plantations stretching along the right 
hank of the Shat for some -'50 miles, and at some points extending miles inland. 
On the opposite or Persian side, nothing 18 seen except a lew clumps of neglected 
date-trees, and the striking contrast between the two riverain tracts has been 
appealed to as a proof of the superiority of the Turkish over the Persian adminis- 
tration. But the plantations on the Ottoman side belong almost exclusively to the 
Arabs of the port of Koveit, who form a sort of independent commonwealth. 
Since the opening of the Suez Canal, the value of the Bassorah dates, of which 
there are said to be seventy varieties, has increased sixfold; yet even before this 
event the yearly export averaged about £80,000. Cereals also are here grown in 
such quantities that, to save the cost of transport, wheat is used as fodder and even 
as fuel. 

At the mouth of the Shat-el-Arab lies the seaport of Fao, residence of the 
riverain pilots, the custom house officers and officials connected with the semaphore 
and telegraph services. The annual traffic at this place exceeds 500,000 tons. 
On the opposite side the Persian riverain port of Mohammerah lies higher up, at 
the junction of the Shat with the canal flowing from the Karun. 



FIE terms Asia Minor and Anatolia, now used synonymously, are of 
Byzantine origin ; but their meaning has gradually been modified 
during the course of centuries. But about the beginning of the 
fifth century of the new era, the expression Asia Minor was already 
applied to the peninsula comprised between the Cyprus waters, the 
Euxine, and the course of the Halys, to distinguish it from the rest of the continent, 
the "Greater Asia," as it was then called. In the same way Anatolia, at first 
designating a small portion of the Asiatic peninsula, and, under Suleiman the 
Magnificent, the official name of a particular province, at last acquired a general 
meaning, replacing the term Rum or Romania, which custom had attributed to 
the Byzantine provinces exposed to the invasions of the Osmanli. The Turks 
themselves use the Greek term under the modified forms of Anadoli or Anadolu, as 
synonymous with the western expressions, the " East " and the " Levant." 

Both terms are now employed in a sufficiently definite sense, being applied to a 
clearly defined physical region, whose extreme south-eastern angle is marked by 
the Gulf of Iskanderun (Alexandretta), which penetrates far inland between C'ilicia 
and Syria. The natural frontier at the neck of the peninsula is indicated by the 
mountain range forming the northern continuation of the Syrian crests, and con- 
stituting the water-parting between the Jibuti (Pyramis) and the Euphrates basin. 
But towards the north-east corner the frontier line becomes somewhat vague, where 
the Pontine Alps run parallel with the Euxine. Here a purely conventional 
geographical frontier has been traced from the Sivas plateau to the Yasun head- 
land, across the valley of the Ghermili, a tributary of the Yeshil-irmak. Within 
these limits the peninsula covers an area about equal to that of France, but with 
scarcely one-tilth of its population. 

Yet Anatolia miirht well sustain as many inhabitants as the richest lands in 
Europe. Doubtless most of the surface is occupied by. elevated tablelands and 
mountains, the mean altitude being scarcely less than 3,500 feet. Bui millions 
might be easily supported in the exuberant valley of the .Meander and other plains 
facing the Archipelago. Even on the uplands of the interior, multitudes might be 

242 SOUTH-WESTERN \<l \. 

sustained where nothing now i> Been bul the tents of nomad pastors, and where tlic 
surface is strewn with cities in ruins. Here the great altitude is balanced by the 
lower latitude, and mi the .slopes lacing southwards the climate is almost tropical. 

General Survey. 

Asia Minor enjoys a special advantage in the remarkable development of its 

seaboard compared with its total area. Eastwards, both on the Euxine and Mediter- 
ranean, the coast describes long semicircular undulations, which towards the south- 
west corners are replaced by deep inlets. Sere the great projections themselves 
ramify into smaller headlands in a sea studded with countless islands and islets. 
Thus the coast-line between the Dardanelles and Rhodes is at least lour times, and 
including the shores of all the inhabited islands, fully ten times longer than the 
distance as the bird flies. 

At the same time the western section of Asia Minor affords a striking instance 
of the arbitrary character of conventional divisions. Certainly the islands, 
peninsulas, and river valleys, right up to the mountains and plateaux of the interior, 
nowhere present an Asiatic aspect ; they belong geographically as well as histori 
cally not t" Asia but to Europe. On both sides of the intervening waters the 
climate corresponds ; the seaboard has the same appearance and formation ; popula- 
tions of the same race have here settled over against each other, and have taken 
part in a common historic movement. So far from separating Hellas from Anatolia, 
the .Egean Sea has on the contrary cemented their union by affording \'vv<- scope 
for mutual intercourse from island to island, from shore to shore. As in the days 
of Herodotus, Athens and Smyrna, on either side of the archipelago, have remained 
Greek cities, spite of conquests and repeated barbaric invasions advancing at first 
from east to west, later on reacting from the west to the east. 

Nevertheless, a remarkable contrast is presented by the two Greek domains. 
While the PeloponeSUS, as indicated by its very name, is rather an i-land than a 
peninsula, and continental Greece itself an almost exclusively maritime land, 
separated by lofty ranges from the northern mainland, the richly diversified 
tonian coastlands form on the contrary a natural dependence of the inland plateaux. 
The communications between the seaboard and uplands are doubtless rendered 
difficult by the intervening boghaz or rugged hills, which often approach close to 
the shore. In certain places also the river valleys on the Ionian coast are rendered 
almost inaccessible to each other by the encircling ridges, so that the Hellenes 
were long enabled here to preserve their original autonomy and culture on the very 
flank of powerful Asiatic monarchies, from which they were separated only by a 
6 u miles of rocky hills. Hut it is none the less certain that in a general way 
continuous intercourse, an uninterrupted exchange of commodities, ideas, and even 
family ties, was from remote times established between the maritime and inland 
provinces of Anatolia. Herein consists the original character of the work 
accomplished in the history of human progress by the inhabitants of the peninsula, 
a region which may be described as consisting of two lands incapsulated one in the 


other — a section of the Asiatic mainland, so to say, dovetailed in a detached strip 
of the European seaboard. 

As a highway for the eastern peoples moving westwards, Asia Minor forms the 
natural continuation of the Armenian plateaux and " Medic Strait." But at this 
extremity of Asia, a time necessarily arrived when the further western movement 
of the Asiatic peoples was arrested. In the north-w r est alone, where the marine 
w r aters are contracted in the Bosphorus and Hellespont to the proportions of a 
river, the migrations from one continent to the other could be effected under easy 
conditions. Elsewhere the relations between Europe and Asia, impeded by 
extensive maritime tracts, were carried on, not by the displacement of the masses, 
but rather by the action of war and commerce. At the same time a decided 
contrast between the populations of the peninsula was brought about by the 
physical and climatic differences existing between the elevated inland plateaux and 
the low-lying maritime region. Thus was developed in Anatolia itself the zone 
of transition between the inhabitants of the two continents, between Ionians mi 
the one hand, and Lydians or Phrygians on the other. Here also the genius of the 
maritime Hellenes accomplished that marvellous fusion of all the elements of the 
arts, sciences, and general culture brought from Chaldea, Assyria,' Persia, the 
Semitic world, and even indirectly from remote Egypt itself. They gave 
practical effect to all these foreign materials, transmitting the new inheritance to 
their kinsmen in the archipelago and on the coasts of continental Greece. 
Anatolia has been likened to a hand extended by Asia to Europe. But this hand 
would have failed to impart its benefits but for the Hellenes acting as intermedi- 
aries between the two continents. 

In few other regions of the globe has more history, in the language of Curtis, 
been condensed within a narrower area. Rival populations were irresistibly 
attracted to a seaboard presenting so many physical advantages — a delightful 
climate, a coast diversified by endless inlets and headlands, rich alluvial plains 
yielding in abundance all kinds of plants useful to man. On the one hand, the 
inhabitants of the plateaux and inland valleys sought to retain possession of the 
riverain valleys giving access to the iEgean Sea; on the other, the seafaring 
peoples, traders or pirates, endeavoured to gain a footing on such inviting territory. 
After long vicissitudes of sanguinary struggles and wholesale extermination, 
commemorated in the old myths and poems, the issue was decided in favour of 
the more active and energetic maritime tribes. Greeks of diverse stocks. Leleges, 
Ionians, Dorians, seized the most convenient seaports, and the towns founded by 
them rose to great power and influence. They became the true cradle of Western 
culture, for from these centres were diffused those combined elements of the various 
Egyptian, Syrian, Persian, and Indian civilisations, those artistic and scientific 
impulses by which the European world is still vivified. Here the Homerides san^ 
the oldest songs of Mediterranean literature; here Ionian art attained the acme of 
its grace and splendour; here their sages enunciated those problems on the 
constitution of the universe which are still discussed by modern philosophy ; and it 
was in Miletus, a renowned Anatolian citv, that over two thousand four hundred 

•J44 SolTII-WESTEEN Afll \ 

years ago the first charts were engraved on bronze plates bj Anaximander, Becataaus, 
Aristagoras. Yel full justice i> rarely done to these Asiatic Eellenes. 'lust as for 
many centuries Greece itself was viewed through a Roman atmosphere, bo by a 
natural law of perspective Eellenic Anatolia is still contemplated, overshadowed, as 
it were, by continental Greece. Now, however, the discoveries of archaeology 
have shown thai Asiatic Greece not only took the lead in point of time, but was 
ne\er surpassed by her Kuropean sister in the works of art. "Ionian culture," 
writes Perrot, "was the springtide of Greek culture. To her the world is indebted 
for epic and lyric poetry, the firstlings of Hellenic genius." Asia Minor was the 
birthplace of Homer, of Thales, of Heraclitus, Pythagoras, and Herodotus. And 
while the full blaze of science and letters seems in Kuropean Greece to be mainly 
centred in Athens, it was diffused on the Asiatic side throughout many centres, 
such as lYrgamus, Smyrna, Kphesus, Miletus, Halicarnassus. 

Bui how profound the difference between the Ionia of those days and the 
modern Turkish province of Aniuloli ! So striking is the contrast, that the name 
of Asi.i Minor conjures up the memory of its glorious past, without a thought for 
its presenl state of decay. The tongue refuses almost to name its cities and 
provinces by their contemporary designations, and the mind loves to still think of 
them as they existed two thousand years ago. Nevertheless, it would be unfair 
merely to echo the current charges against the Osmanli, as if they alone were to 
blame for the decadence of Anatolia. As Chihachefl remarks, its Turkish 
conquerors succeeded to an already ruined inheritance, ruined by the repeated 
devastating wars and massacres that followed cadi other from the arrival of the 
Romans down to the Crusades and the Mongol incursions. Some of the changes 
that have ensued must also, perhaps, be attributed to climatic conditions and to 
a bad treatment of the soil. Of timber-growing lands, few have suffered more than 
Asia Minor from reckless waste. Many old records speak of forests covering 
extensive tracts, where nothing is now to be seen but arid solitudes or stunted 
scrub. The extremes of temperature between the seasons have certainly been 
intensified by the disappearance of the woodlands. To the same cause are due the 
prolonged droughts and the sudden inundations in the riverain valleys. Less 
subject to control than formerly, the running waters have developed \ast morasses, 
poisoning the atmosphere and almost depopulating whole districts. In certain 
low-lying tracts the villages standing on the sites of once flourishing cities are 
altogether uninhabitable in summer. In some of the most dangerous parts, the 
malarious exhalations are felt even at altitudes of (>,000 feet. And besides the 
devastations of miasmatic endemics, the country has also been frequently ravaged 
by frightful epidemics, which have spread thence westwards to the seaports of Italy, 
Prance, and Spain. 

But despite the present deplorable condition of Anatolia, symptoms are not 
lacking of a brighter future. The work of Kuropean culture is no longer 
restricted to the peopling of new worlds across the Atlantic and at the Antipodes. 
It has also begun to re-act on the eastern lands whence came the first elements of 
its civilisation. The work of geographical exploration has already been all but 



accomplished along all the main lines of communication across Anatolia, and this 
general survey is now being complemented by more detailed and accurate local 
research. From the seaboard the progress of discovery is moving inland, where a 
rich field of exploration awaits the archaeologist in the numerous artificial mounds, 
piles of refuse, sepulchral monuments, broken shafts, dismantled strongholds, half- 
buried cities, strewn over the plateaux. 

Anatolian Mountain Systems. 

The Anatolian rectangle may, roughly speaking, be described as a plane 
inclined towards the Black Sea. All the more elevated lands and main ranges are 

Fig. 94. — Old Provinces of Asia Mihok. 
Scale 1 : 11,000,000. 

L, ofb 

Names and limits of the Vilayets. 

Names and limits of the Old provinces. 
— 180 Miles. 

massed in the southern section of the peninsula, along the Mediterranean seaboard. 
The northern slopes of these uplands merge imperceptibly in the central plateaux, 
which are themselves furrowed in every direction by river valleys, gradually 
broadening out and draining to the Euxine. But in the extreme north, where the 
Coast-line advances in a vast convex curve into the sea, independent and almost 
isolated masses rise between the Kizil-irmak and Sakaria river basins, skirting on 
its northern edge an extensive central plain, whose deeper parts are still flooded by 
the remains of an inland sea. The ranges which follow at some distance the 
line of the southern shore, and which are broken into irregular chains and moun- 
tain masses, are mainly disposed in the form of a crescent, with its convex side 
facing the Mediterranean, and thus corresponding to the northern curve turned 


towards the Euxine. This southern orographic system takes the oollective aame 
of the Taurus. 

But like that of the Caucasus, this appellation of Taurus was one of those 
vague terms applied by the ancients to different and often far removed ranges. 
The term Davr or Darri, still occurring throughout the whole of tin- peninsula, is 
merely a modified form of the same word. But according to the most accepted 
usage, by Taurus was understood the whole system of crests running from the 
western headland- of Anatolia to the unknown regions of the extreme east, and 
forming the diaphragm of the continent. At present the name is -till applied in 
a general way to several distinct chains of Hither Asia, each, however, can fully 
distinguished by some secondary local designation. Thus the Armenian Taurus 
comprises collectively the whole of the south-western Armenian highlands which 
are pierced by the Euphrates on its way to the Mesopotamian plains. The Cilician 
laurus forms in the same way the angular rampart rising ahove the valley of the 
Seihun in the south-east corner of Asia Minor, and this again is followed from 
east to west by the Isaurian, Pisidian, and Lyeian Taurus. The local Turkish 
names, whose sense is more defined, are applied to distinct h ig hlan d groups. 

In the regions of Upper Armenia and Pontus, lying north of the Murad, the 
continental axis is formed by the Pontine ranges skirting the Black Sea, whereas 
in Anatolia it trends southwards to the Mediterranean. But both systems are 
connected by a transverse ridge running north-east and south-west, in the same 
direction as all the hills, valleys, and coast lines in this part of Asia Minor. The 
first link between the Pontine and Cilician Alps is the Karabel-da;;h, which runs 
from the great bend of the Euphrates at Eghin to the bead-streams of the Kizil- 
irmak. It attains at one point an absolute elevation of 5,X00 feet; but relatively 
to the surrounding plateaux, which have a mean altitude of 5,000 feet, it presents 
the appearance of a very moderately elevated chain of hills. With it begins the 
system of the Anti-Taurus, which develops a series of parallel barriers running in 
a south-westerly direction, and standing out all the more boldly that their base 
has been profoundly eroded by the Seihun and its tributaries. Besides, these 
rocky walls, intersected at intervals by narrow difficult passes, really increase in 
altitude as they advance southwards. The Khanzin-da^h (•• Wild Boar Moun- 
tain "), and Bimbogha-dagh (" Mountain of the Thousand Bulls "), and some other 
peaks, remain snow-clad till the month of July, while many rocky gorges develop 
perennial snow-fields. One of the Kozan-dagh crests rises to a height of 9,350 
feet, and another in the Kermez-dagh chain, east of the river Seihun, attains an 
elevation of 10,650 feet. The copious rainfall on this southern portion of the 
Anti-Taurus, as compared with the rolling plateaux farther north, fosters a much 
richer vegetation, in which extensive woodlands are interspersed with grassy and 
flowery slopes. Some of the valleys draining to the Seihun thus present a 
-trikintr contrast in the variety of their plants and their brilliant verdure to the 
impoverished flora of the central Anatolian regions. 


The Akti-Taukus and Cilician Taurus. 

The various broken ridges, which follow each other in a general south-westerly 
direction, with a slight convexity towards the west, bear no collective local 
designation. Xor can the terra Anti-Taurus applied to the system by geographers 
be justified, for it dues not stand like a rival over against the Cilician Taurus, but 
both of these highlands belong to the same orographic system, interrupted onlv bv 
a slight intervening fault. The Anti-Taurus forms a continuation of the Cilician 
mountains, in the same way that in the Pyrenees the Mediterranean forms a 
continuation of the Atlantic section, from which it is separated only by the Aran 
Valley. In the Tauric system the breach is formed by the valley of the Zamantia- 
su, the most copious western affluent of the Seihun. To the west rise the Ala-dagh 
crests, forming the northern extremity of the Cilician Taurus; eastwards the 
Ghadin-bali and Kozan-dagh form the southern termination of the Anti-Taurus," 
although the Kaleh-dagh, the Khanzir-dagh, and several other chains regarded as 
belonging to this section of the Tauric highlands, are continued to the west of the 
Zamantia-su. Farther east the Kermez-dagh merges through the Berut group 
(8,000 feet) in other parallel ramparts, as regularly disposed as those of the Anti- 
Taurus, but running in a different direction, from west to east. These constitute the 
Armenian Taurus, which deflects the Euphrates for some distance eastwards, before 
allowing its waters to escape through a series of deep gorges southwards. On the 
south the Ghiaur-dagh, or " Mountain of Unbelievers," so named from the Greeks 
and Armenians inhabiting its valleys, forms the south-eastern barrier of Asia 
Minor, which is here clearly marked by the deep valley of the Ak-su, flowing to 
the Jihun. The Ghiaur-dagh, which runs north-east and south-west, is connected 
by a transverse ridge with the Syrian Amanus range. Interrupted by profound 
depressions, it reappears on the Gulf of Alexandretta, where it develops the two 
headlands of Jebel Xur and Jebel Missis. These hills are skirted southwards by 
the Jihun, beyond the broad alluvial plain of which thev arc continued In' a 
number of heights, formerly islets in the gulf, but now connected bv swampy 
tracts with the mainland, and terminating abruptly in the steep promontory of 
Kara-tash, or the " Blackrock." 

The Cilician Taurus, properly so called, begins with the majestic Ala-dagh, 
which culminates in the Apish-Kardagh, over 11,000 feet high. But here the 
crests are so entangled in a labyrinth of other transverse or parallel ridges, that a 
clear idea of the main axis, with its snowy peaks, can be formed only by surveying 
it from some commanding summit at a distance. And although forming the south- 
eastern scarp of the Anatolian plateau, these lofty uplands nowhere form a true 
water-parting. Two rivers rising on the uplands north of them force their way 
through the Ala-dagh on their course to the Seihun, which is itself formed by all 
the streams issuing from the parallel valleys of the Anti-Taurus. The two gorges 
traversed by the Goklu-su and Chekid-su are absolutely impracticable, so that the 
range has here to be crossed by dangerous passes, one of which in the old itineraries is 
named the Karghah-Kermez, " Impassable by the Raven." The only route by which 


artillery could penetrate from the coasl to the int. Tim- of Anatolia ascends the river 
Cydnua north of Tarsus, beyond which it plunges into the lateral gorge of the 
Ghilek-boghaz, thereby turning the escapments skirting the wesl ride of the Chekid- 
su ravine. 

The Pvla , or "Cilician Grates," as this passage is called, have an altitude of 
3,200 feet, and were at all times of vital strategic importance. Eere terminates the 
diagonal line running from the Bosphorus across Asia Minor to the <iulf of 
Alt sandretta, and this route must be taken by militarj expeditions advancing from 
Constantinople towards the Syrian coast, or towards the greal Lend of the Euphrates 
where it enters Mesopotamia. No highway is more famous in the annals of war- 
fare than this narrow defile, where converge all the routes of the peninsula. Even 
before the days of Xerxes and Alexander it had been forced by many invading 
boats, and since then it has been frequently used down to recent times. In 1836 
Ilirahim-l'asha, victorious at Nizih, strongly fortified the Gulek-boghaz to bar the 
road against the Turkish armies. All the paths crossing the crest were also ren- 
dered impassable by artificial works, and the whole of the cilician Taurus was 
converted into an impregnable citadel. Some remains of the formidable Egyptian 
lines are still visible, as well as some older works constructed by the Genoese and 
Armenians. Above the route traversing the Gulek-boghaz, may be distinctly seen 
the remains of an ancient road cut in the live rock either by the Assyrians or the 
Persians. At the narrowest point of the defile stands a ruined altar with two 
votive tablets, the inscriptions on which have been effaced, as has also the flight of 
steps leading up to the gates, which were closed in time of war. At present the 
cilician Gates have lost their strategic value, but retain their commercial impor- 
tance, notwithstanding the charges imposed by the inland custom-houses on every 
camel-load. All the gorges intersecting the Taurus range present a meteorological 
phenomenon analogous to that observed in the Sefid-rud ravine between the Iranian 
plateau and the Caspian lowlands. A fierce wind here constantly prevails, blowing 
alternately up and down the narrow valleys according to the diurnal oscillations of 

The whole of the western section of the Cilician Taurus, terminating eastwards 
at the < hekid-su Valley, is specially known as the Bulgar-dagh. This is the range 
visible from the sea along the northern horizon, and pointed out to travellers as the 
"Taurus " in a pre-eminent sense. And it certainly is one of the loftiest Anatolian 
chains, as well as one of those which, in their bold outlines, ja^ed crests, and rich 
vegetation, most resemble the west European highlands. But the culminating 
peaks of the Bulgar-dagh are rather more elevated than those of the Pyrenees, and 
they are also disposed parallel to a marine shore, where the white groups of houses 
are seen nestling amidst dense tufts of the Feathery palm. The highest point of 
the Bulgar-dagh, 11,650 feet, or sonic 300 feet higher than Maladetta in the 
Pyrenees, is locally known by the name of Bfetdesia. It was first ascended in 1836 
by the engineer Russeger, who from its summit enjoyed a superb prespecl 
embracing all the chief peaks of the range, and the chaos of uplands limiting the 
north-eastern horizon. Here the mountains present an endless variety of form and 



colour, terraces, pyramids, needles, some red or yellow, others grey or black, and 
ever shifting with the shifting lights. In these spurs of the Bulgar-dagh are 
situated the rich argentiferous lead mines of the Bulgar-maden, beyond which rise 
the Ala-dagh and Anti-Taurus. To the north are faintly mirrored the great lakes 
of the plateau, above which sparkle the eternal snows of Arjish, culminating point 
of the peninsula. Southwards the view commands the slope of the whole range, 
with its advanced spurs and ramparts, beyond which are visible the shores of 
Syria as far as Latakieh, and in the midst of the blue waters the faint outlines of 
the Cyprus hills in the hazy distance. 

Notwithstanding its southern position and complete exposure to the solar rays, 
the Bulgar-dagh remains wrapped for several months in a snowy mantle, while its 

Fig. 95. — The Bvlgar-dagh. 
Scale t : 240,000. 


^ ■ 

»v . 

. 6 Miles. 

higher gorges are sometimes completely blocked throughout the year. A small 
glacier was even supposed to exist on the slopes of Mount Ohuban-huyu, near the 
Metdesis peak. But the massess of transparent bluish ice here discovered are due 
to a copious spring, by which the snow is melted, and the water soon again frozen 
to ice during the cold nights. 

Seawards the Cilician Taurus presents a much more imposing appearance than 
towards the interior, where its absolute height is lessened by the mean altitude of 
the plateau, which considerably exceeds 3,000 feet, and which is connected by 
numerous transverse ridges with the Bulgar-dagh and Ala-dagh. An interrupted 
series of mountains follows successively between the Taurus and the Ilassan-dagh, 
which latter groups, however, belong to a different geological system. They form 
part of the extensive volcanic region, which at one time displayed intense igneous 


activity mi the shores of the ancient inland sea occupying the centre of the peninsula. 
This plutonic mass culminates towards the uorth-easl in the mighty Erjiah ( Arjeh), 
the Argaeus of 1 1 1 < - ancients, which is the highest peak in Anatolia, as was alreadj 
known to Strabo, who was born some distance to the north of the volcano. Accord- 
ing to Chihacheff, the southern edge of ili«' crater is 1-J.siin | ir t hi<rh, mul above it 
some vertical rocky walls rise some : >imi feel higher. Bui the report current in 
Strabo's time, that both the Euxine and "Sea of tssus" were visible from its 
summit, lias qo Foundation in fact. Southwards the Mediterranean is concealed by 
the intervening Bulgar-dagh and Ala-dagh, while towards the north-east the vague 
outlines of the Pontine highlands are scarcely visible in the cli uresl weather.* 

Mm m The [saurian \m> Ltciam Taurus. 

Mount Argffius rests on a very lofty pediment. Even the northern plain of 
Kaisarieh, the lowest of all the surrounding lands, has an elevation of over 3,300 
feet, whilst a depression separating the central mass from another volcanic group 
towards the west exceeds o.imiii feet. The mountain properly so called is encircled 
by spurs, cones, and lava streams, giving to the whole group a total area of about 
loii square miles. The southern ascent, chosen by Hamilton, the first to scale the 
cone in modern times, passes successively over broad tracts disposed in a series of 
terraces round the highest cone, which is 2, <>•>() feet high, and scored by deep 
crevasses and divergent ravines describing a pendant necklace of white snow round 
the crater, and descending in long streaks amid the reddish scoriui. On these 
furrowed heights the least change of temperature during the night suffices to arrest 
the progress of the snowy masses, which with the morning sun become again dis- 
engaged, and then continue to rush down the slopes, bounding from crag to crag, 
across the crevasses. When the snows begin to melt in spring, the danger from 
this cause becomes SO great that the ascent has to lie made at night "before the 
mountain is awake." In summer the snow disappears altogether from the southern 
slopes; but some remains throughout the year in the deep crater, where it even 
forms real glaciers. 

In the time of St rabo the cone was not yet quite extinct. Its slopes were covered 
with forests, which have since disappeared ; but the surround ing plain was 
" undermined by a subterranean fire," frequently emitting flames, and so late as 
the tilth century Claudian still speaks of the "burning summits" of Argeus. 
Chihacheff refers to the coins found in the neighbourhood of Kaisarieh representing 
the crater in a state of eruption ; and although in modern times no trace has been 
observed of vapour or carbonic acid springs, the scoriae, lava-streams, and craters 
everywhere present the appearance of recent cooling. The Ali-dagh to the north- 
east, the Sevri-dagh to the south-west, and hundreds of other eminences dotted over 
this igneous region, have preserved their craters. Of these the highest, next to 
Argseus, are those of the Hassan-dagh, which attain an elevation of nearly 10,000 
feet. They are connected towards the south-east with the scarcely less elevated 
• Aliitude of Mount Argaeus, according to Tl.-nniltoii. 13,200 feet; Cooper, 13,300; Tozer, 13,350. 



Yeshil-dagh, whose vertical walls and basalt colonnades rise abruptly above the 
plains. Towards the south-west the volcanic range merges in the Karaja-dagh, 
which extends for 120 miles beyond Argasus. One of the craters of this range, 
visible in a saline lakelet five miles south-east of Karabunar, presents the probably 
unique appearance of an oval bowl, with the rim gradually rising towards the east, 
where it terminates in a vertical spout. 

West of the Cilician Taurus the whole seaboard between the gulfs of Taurus and 

Fig. 96. — Mount 
Scale 1 : 540,000. 


Adalia is occupied by a labyrinth of highlands known as the Isaurian Taurus. 
Here geographers have not yet succeeded in positively identifying the (Tragus, 
Imbarus, or Andricus of the ancients, names which were applied especially to the 
peaks visible from the coast, whatever might be their importance relatively to the 
more elevated summits of the interior. In this region the chief group is that of 
the Gok-kuh, or " Celestial Mountain," whose highe-t crests attain an altitude of 
10,000 feet. Most of the ridges connected with it are disposed in the direction 


from north-west to Bouth east, parallel with those skirting the oast side of the Gulf 
of Adalia. None, except the Gok-kuh, exceed -">,<)(»(( in i ; \,t, despite their 
moderate elevation, tin- Anatolian seaboard nowhere presents a more rugged aspect 
than on tin- coast nt Cilicia Trachsea, as this district was named in opposition to the 
low-lying shores of Cilicia Campestris, stretching along tin- loot of the Uulgar- 
dagh towards the Gulf of Alexandretta. Headlands of Bchists, conglomers 
limestone, or white marble follow almost uninterruptedly around the eon vex coast- 
line over against Cyprus. Coming westwards the first of these headlands, some of 
which rise in vertical dill's ooo or 700 feet above the waves, is the superb promon- 
tory of Manavat ("Cavalier Point '*), almost detached Erom the mainland, and thus 
forming a natural stronghold, which has been further strengthened by defensive 
works and ditches cut in the live rock. A lew miles farther east Is Provencal Isle, 
another marble rock completely surrounded by water, and also crowned with a 
fortress Standing amidst the debris of houses and chapels. These remains of 
military and religious structures, as well as the names of the cape and island still 
current along the coast, recall the presence of European Christians in the district. 
The two Cilician rocks were amongst the fortresses ceiled by Leo. King of Armenia, 
to the pope about the end of the twelfth century, and lure the knights of Saint 
John of Jerusalem established a refuge for liberated Christian slaves. The other 
headlands west of Cavalier Point, if less interesting historic-ally, are none the less 
picturesque. Cape Kizliman, which is attached to the mainland by a low isthmus, 
consists of perfectly regular strata with the most varied and brilliant tints — red, 
violet, brown, yellow, and deep blue. Farther on, (ape Anamur marks the 
southernmost point of Asia Minor. 

North of the Tracluean highlands, the isolated Kara-dagh, or "Black Moun- 
tains," rise like an island amidst the uniform plains of Konieh. This group lies on 
the prolonged axis of the chains, which stretch north-westwards for some 120 miles 
beyond Konieh. The eastern rampart, skirting the Central Anatolian depression 
on the west, is broken by numerous breaches, and has a mean altitude of scarcely 
more than 800 or 900 feet above the plateau, lint at its north-western extremity 
it terminates in the Kmir-dagh and Keshir-dagh, which attain a somewhat greater 
elevation, and which afford abundant pasturage during the summer heats. The 
western section, known as the Sultan-dagh, possibly on account of its greater 
height, forms a lofty range towards the east : but wis! and north it merges in 
many places with the hilly tableland, where rise the Ghediz-chai, Meander, and 
other streams flowing to the .Kgean Sea. 

South-west of the Sultan-dagh, the hills gradually increase in height as they 
advance seawards. In Pisidia, where the Boz-burun, or " Grey Head," falls little 
short of 10,000 feet, they run north and south ; but in Lycia tiny are mainly 
disposed north-east and south-west. In tin Lycian Taurus the Ak-dagh, or 
•• White Mountain," attains an altitude of 10,250 feet, and is almost rivalled by the 
Suzuz-dagh facing it on the east, and possibly surpassed by the Bei-dagh east of 
Klmalu, which is said to have an elevation of 10,500 feet. Next to Metdesis, the 
Ak-dagh and Bei-dagh are the loftiest summits in the Tauric system, and from 



their greater vicinity to the sea they present a still more imposing appearance. 
The northern slopes of the Lycian Taurus are covered or flecked with snow 
throughout the year. To their white crests many of the uplands in this part of 
Asia Minor are indebted for their designation ball, a term almost identical with the 

Fig. 97.— The Chim-eka of Lycia. 
Scale 1 : 450.000. 

i Ycnldjik 

^ ~ - ~ -*"* f *t^T '*A 


u._ oT uree 


Igneous Rocks. 

80 to 160 

160 Feet and 

■mm 72 Miles. 

Slav word for white, which is also applied to snowy summits. But the general 
appellation of Taurus has also been preserved in the local nomenclatures ; and the 
chain beginning at the southern extremity of lake Egherdir and forming the main 
axis of all the branches ramifying towards the Lycian coast, still bears the name of 
Davras or Dauras (Taurus). 

254 30TJTH-WESTEEN Asi \. 

On the oast coast of Lycia the w led and fissured Takh-talu, the Solyma of 

the ancients, rises to a height of 7,300 feet On the southern slope of this 
majestic peak lies the famous Ohimsera, which burns night and day, and which has 
given rise to so many fables. The Yanar, or Yanar-tash, source of the everlasting 
fires, wells up from a fissure about 3 feet deep, above which stand the remains of a 
temple. The Hame is perfectly smokeless, and a few yards oif the serpentine rock 
whence rises the mysterious fire, has a temperature no higher than that of the 
surrounding soil. Plants flourish in the immediate neighbourhood, which is 

watered by a shadd stream. The shepherds of the district often prepare their f I 

in the Chimiera, which, however, according to the Legend, refuses to cook stolen 
aliments. Another fissure resembling the Yanar is now extinct, nor has any escape 
of gas been observed on the spot. This district, where underground rumblings are 
said to be occasionally heard, was formerly known by the name of .Mount l'hunix, 
and one of the neighbouring villages still bears the designation of Phineka, 
Eagles and vultures incessantly hover above the flaming rock, a circumstance 
which may possibly have inspired the legend of the phoenix springing eternally 
from its ashes. 

Like those of Cilician Traehcca, the Lycian promontories mostly terminate 
abruptly in white limestone headlands, contrasting vividly with their dark pine 
forests. The seaboard, indented by numerous inlets, presents in its peninsular 
formation a forecast of the insular groups on the west coast. Here a Greek or 
Italian nomenclature begins to prevail. Thus Castel Orizzo (Castel Rosso), lie- 
largest island on the coast, probably takes its Italian name from the reddish tints 
of its rocks. The promontory and islets of Chelidan (Chelidonia) at the south-east 
corner of Lycia, are so called by the Greeks from the swallows frequenting them; 
and farther on the harbour of " Port Geuovese " occurs on the east side. In the 
straits winding between the Chelidan islands, the currents, which set steadily from 
Syria along the Anatolian shores westwards, are more rapid than elsewhere in the 
Levant. After striking the cliffs of Adalia, which project like a huge barrier 
across their course, they aie deflected to the left, escaping with great impetuosity 
through the Chelidan channels to the high seas. At certain points the stream 
attains a velocity of nearly three miles an hour. Amongst the other curiosities of 
this archipelago is a freshwater brook in the islet of Grambusa, apparently far too 
copious to be maintained by the rainfall on such a small area. Hence the conjec- 
ture that it flows in an underground channel from the mainland, although the 
intervening strait is no less than 17(1 feet deep. 

The AVkst Anatolian Coast-lands and Islands. 

The western section of the Anatolian plateau does not fall uniformly towards 
the .Lgean seaboard, whose numerous indentations find their counterpart along the 
face of the escarpment, even still more complicated by lateral ramifications like 
those of the Norwegian fiords. The uplands are thus frayed, so to say, like the 
ravelled edge of a textile fabric, the main axes being disposed mostly in parallel 


lines falling in successive terraces seawards. Detached from these by profound 
fissures are other ridges, which in their turn are interrupted by broad, verdant 
depressions connecting together the fertile plains on either side. Farther on the 
ranges reappear, projecting as peninsulas far into the .Egean, where they terminate 
in precipitous headlands. But the mainland vanishes only to emerge again in hillv 
islands, which are themselves continued by lower insular groups, gradually dying 
away in still smaller islets and reefs. The continental uplands and insular mass - 
thus belong to the same formation, so that with a change of sea level new islands 
would either be developed farther inland, or else the archipelagos become con- 
verted into promontories projecting seawards. 

This broken section of the plateau, which develops towards the south-west an 
intricate highland system, begins with the majestic Baba-dagh, or Cadmus of the 
ancients. It rises to a height of 10,200 feet, and is skirted eastwards by a depres- 
sion connecting the basin of the Meander, which flows to the iEgean, with that of 
the Duluman-chai, draining to the Sea of Rhodes. South of the Baba-dagh, the 
Boz-dagh, or " Gray Range," falls gradually to heights of 3,000 and 2,000 feet, and 
even less, so that the spurs projecting from the south-west corner of Anatolia far 
into the sea have a very moderate elevation, although still presenting an endless 
variety of bold and fantastic forms. Here the insular eminences are higher than 
those of the mainland, Mount Attairos, in Rhodes, attaining upwards of 4,000 feet, 
and exceeding Mount Lastos in Karpathos only by some 60 feet. From this 
culminating point a clear view is afforded of the eastern extremity of Crete, which 
is connected with Anatolia by a submarine bank 1,000 to 1.200 feet deep, with 
abysses of from 6,500 to 7,000 feet on either side. North of Rhodes another 
headland is continued by the islet of Symi, while the long hilly strip terminating 
at Cape Krio reappears at Nisyros, whose pyramidal cone rises to a height of 2,300 
feet. Farther on the peninsula of Halicarnassus is separated only by narrow rocky 
channels from Kos and the Kalymnos and Leros insular groups. It is noteworthy 
that Nisyros, the only still active volcano in Asia Minor, stands exactly at the 
corner of the peninsula, between the ^Fgean and the deep basin of the East 
Mediterranean Sea. At present the only visible indications of igneous activity, 
are the clouds of smoke with a temperature of over 220° F., the jets of vapour, 
and crystallised sulphur deposits. The underground energies are stimulated 
during the rainy season, when the bottom of the crater is converted into a sulphu- 
rous lake with the temperature of boiling water. This crater is used as a sort of 
refinery by the people engaged in the sulphur trade. According to a Greek legend, 
Nisyros was a fragment of the island of Kos, hurled by a god into the sea. In 
reality the surrounding lands have been largely formed by the matter cast up by 
Nisyros during its former explosions. Thus the islet of Yali, lying between Cos 
and Nisyros, consists of such volcanic tuffa alternating with travertine abounding 
in fossils. According to M. Gorceix, this islet has undergone continual changes of 
level, continued down to the present time, thus attesting the uninterrupted play of 
the subterranean forces in the neighbouring volcano. In this part of the Mediter- 
ranean the tides are very perceptible, rising about one foot in the Gulf of Symi. 


!!-\VK<TKl;\- ASl \ 

The saim Baba-dagh group, whence radiate the south-western spurs of the 
peninsula, also projects westwards a branch interrupted at intervals by deep 
valleys. Above the crest ris ( . severe] peaks considerably over 3,000 Eeel high, and 
towards the western extremity the Besh-l'armak, or "Five Finders," attains an 
elevation of l.*>?i> feet. North of the Meander Valley, the range projecting west- 
wards from the plateaux is much more regular than the Baba-dagh system. Known 
by rarious local names, bul generally spoken of by the Greeks by its old appella- 
tion of Misoghis, this chain extends uninterruptedly for a distance "I 84 miles 

Fig. 98. — Nisyhob. 
Scale 1 : 230.000. 

L . i of ureer 

to 640 I-'eet. 

G40 Feet and upwardl. 
8 Bfilflfl 

from the Meander gorge near Buladan, to the Scala Nova promontories in the 
gulf of Ephesus. The highest crests, whose mean height scarcely exceeds 3,000 
feet, follow in regular succession from east to west, without any intermediate 
depressions. Yet the whole range presents the most varied outlines, thanks to 
the terraces of conglomerate skirting its base al an altitude of from 300 to 450 
feet, and cut into cubic and pyramidal figures by the mountain torrents. Here the 
cultivated terraced tracts and the dense foliage of the valleys present a striking 
contrast to the red tints of the detritus swept down and deposited by the torrents 
as alluvia in the Meander Valley. All these crumbling rocks are evidently the 


remains of sedimentary formations, deposited during an older geological epoch, 
when the Anatolian seaboard was more deeply submerged than at present. 

Towards its western extremity, the Misoghis range falls as low as 800 feet at 
one point, where it is pierced by a tunnel on the railway, running from Smyrna up 
the Meander Valley. This depression separates the main chain from the Gumish- 
dagh, or " Silver Mountain," which abounds in deposits of emery and other 
minerals. Southwards the Lower Meander is skirted by groups of hills facing the 
Besh-Parmak escarpments, beyond which the jagged crests of the Samsun-da^h, 
the Mycale of the ancients, are seen stretching east and west. Here the Asiatic 
seaboard of the ^Egean Sea culminates in the rocky pyramid of Rapana, which rises 
to a height of 4,180 feet about the centre of this range. Immediately to the wesl 
is a somewhat less elevated but more venerated peak, on which stands a ruined 
shrine dedicated to the prophet Eliah, who has replaced Apollo-Melkarth as the 
tutelar genius of the Ionian Greeks. Over against it lies the island of Samos, 
terminating westwards in the still loftier peak of Kerki (5,900 feet), beyond which 
are visible the summits of Nikaria (over 3,000 feet), and towards the south-west 
Patmos and other islets are dimly seen, now like deep shadows, now like luminous 
vapour floating on the purple waters. The strait separating Samos from the 
mainland is less than a mile and a half wide, and even this is divided bv a rocky 
islet into two channels. From the town of Samos is visible the last promontory of 
the mainland, which has retained its old name of Mycale, changed by trans- 
position of syllables to Camilla or Camello. 

North of the Misoghis chain is developed another of the same elevation, the 
Tmolus of the ancients, terminating immediately to the east of Smyrna, and 
forming jointly with the Misoghis a vast semi-circle round the valley of the 
Cayster. West of this valley the hills break into independent groups, which were 
formerly separated by broad straits from the mountains of the interior. The 
Alaman-dagh, the Gallesion of the ancients, has preserved its insular aspect, the 
verdure clothing its spurs and penetrating into its gorges serving to define its out- 
lines as sharply as might the marine waters themselves. Differing from nearly all 
the other Ionian chains, which run normally east and west, the AUuuan-dagh is 
disposed in the direction from north to south, as is also the more westerly ridge, 
which crosses the Smyrnian peninsula, terminating with the twin peaks of the Two 
Brothers, whose wooded slopes overlook the entrance of the roadstead. Farther on 
another and loftier chain follows the same direction from Cape Karaka to the 
Mimas or Kara-burun promontory. Chio, the nearest island to this part of the 
coast, also runs north and south, differing in this respect from all the other islands 
of the Ionian Archipelago, Chio culminates northwards with Mount Saint Elias 
(4,220 feet), which occasionally remains covered with snow for a lew days, or even 
weeks in winter, whence perhaps the name of the island (khion, snow). 

The rocks of Chio belong to various geological epochs, and the underground 
forces are still at work producing fresh formations. Igneous rocks, such as serpen- 
tine, porphyries, trachytes, occur in several places, as well as in the neighbouring 
Erythrean peninsula, for the two parallel ridges, here separated by a marine 



channel scarcely 80 feel deep, are comprised within the same area of volcanic 
disturbance. This district of Ionia, one of the richest in thermal springs, is also 
one d!' those that have Buffered mosl from subterranean convulsions. 

During the second half of this century, the town of <'lii" was destroyed by a 
tremendous earthquake seldom exceeded in violence, and the island was again 
Bhaken in October, 1883, when the springs were dried up or replaced by others, 

I M..I is \" VI 1 I'Y. l'l AIN Dl' S.UIMS. 

^ ' ■■-■ 






several villages and parts of towns overthrown, and over -50,000 people rendered 

The chain, connected by a low depression with Mount Tmolus, and bending 
westwards round the north side of Smyrna harbour, is famous in legend and 

history as the Sipylos of Khlg Tantalus; and over against the city stands ill. " Seat 

of Pelops," where reigned thechief of the family that gave its name to the Pelopon- 
nesus. The old writers speak of frightful earthquakes, which destroyed the cities 



and " devoured " Sipylos. No trace can now be detected of these convulsions ; but 
all the western section of the range, that is, the Yamanlar-dagh of the Turks 
consists of eruptive rocks. The Manissa-dagh, or " Mountain of Magnesia," as the 
western part of Sipylos is called, is formed of chalk cliffs, which on the north side 
terminate abruptly in lofty walls diversely coloured, pierced by caves, and broken 
by faults, which seem to traverse the mountain in its entire thickness. East of the 
Manissa-dagh the northern slope of Tmolus, here known as the Boz-dagh, or " Grey 
Mountain," is skirted by the plain of Sardis, watered by the Hermus. 

The hills facing Tmolus north of the Alashehr Valley are partly of volcanic 

Fig. 100.— Mytilene. 
Scale 1 : 490.000. 


of Ijreenivich 


S2 to 320 

i>20 to 1,600 

1,600 Feet and 

12 Miles. 

origin, and one of the plains enclosed by them is the Katakekaumene, or " Burnt 
Land" of the Greeks. Here the volcanic Kard Devlit, or "Black Inkbottlc," 
which rises to a height of about 500 feet above the Eula plain, is entirely composed 
of ashes and blackish semi;!', which crumble beneath the feet. Vest of it follow 
two other cones at intervals of 6 or 7 miles, both of which, like the Kara Devlit, 
have discharged streams of lava towards the Hermus Valley. Of these the 
westernmost, known as the Kaplan Alan, or "Tiger's Cave," presents a terminal 
crater about half a mile in circumference. Besides these comparatively modern 
volcanoes, which arc probably of the same age as those of Auvergne, there are 
several others, which can now be distinguished only in outline, and which are 

260 SOUTH -WESTERN \si \. 

clothed with the same vegetation as the surrounding districts. Others again, of a 
still more remote epoch, are dotted over the marble and schistose plateaux. 

The Murad-dagh, which Forms a western continuation of the Emir-dagh of the 

central plateau, may be regarded as the nucleus whence diverge the chief ranges 
and rivers in the north-west of the peninsula. Here the Meander, Hermits, and 
Thymbrius lake their rise, and here the lofty Murad range, which exceeds f>,"il)<) 
feet in height, merges westwards in the Ak-dagh, or " White Mountain," which 
has an elevation of 8,120 Feet. Farther on this system is continued by the 
Demirji-dagh, with its southern spurs, one of which is the superb trachytic Kavajik, 
rising vertically above the surrounding valleys. The Eassan-dagh, by which the 
main range is continued to the east and south-east, sweeps round towards Mount 
Sipylos, as if to enclose the llermus Valley. Its gorges, formerly crossed only by 
rugged tracks, are now traversed by the railway between Smyrna and Magnesia. 
Most of the other chains connected with the Demirji generally stretch away in a 
succession of gently rolling hills towards the sea of Marmora. I'.ut Syenitie 
Madara-dagh, over against Mytelene, consists largely of huge blocks piled up in 
fantastic shapes, and presenting all the transitions between the solid rock and 
disintegrated sands. Mytelene itself, which is separated by the Gulf of Edrcmid 
from the high seas, also bristles with peaks, amongst which is an "Olympus," 
whose summit is occasionally covered with snow. This large Anatolian island 
evidently belongs to two different orographic systems, its west side forming part of 
the Troad, while the east runs parallel to the shores of Mysia. To this double forma- 
tion Mytelene is indebted for its peculiar fan-like shape, giving access southwards 
to circular marine inlets. 

Ida \\d Olympus — North Anatoliah Ranges. 

The mountains of the Troad have their chief nucleus at its southern extremity, 
immediately north of the Gulf of Edremid, where rise the wooded heights of the 
Kaz-dagh, the Ida or Gargara of the ancients. These two names, however, must 
be applied in their poetic sense to other more central mountains of the Troad. 
At least from the topmost crest of the Kaz-dagh, 5,880 feet high according to 
Schmidt, and surrounded by other peaks scarcely less elevated, the plain of Ilion is 
not visible. Hence from this point Zeus could have been described as contemplating 
the struggles of Trojan and < ireek on the banks of the Scamander. For the present 
Hellenes Ida is a sacred mountain, as it hud been in pagan times. Near the 
summit are seen the remains of cells and shrines, and on the feast of the prophet 
Elias the surrounding peasantry spend the night on the peak, in order to kneel in 
worship as soon as the sun appears above the horizon. Doubtless the ceremony has 
little changed since the old poets celebrated the glorious crest lit up by the ruddy 
dawn, and diffusing a divine effulgence over the la ml. 

Ida is still clothed with the magnificenl forests to which it owes its name. 
But on most of the advanced spurs, such as the Kara-dagh and Karali-dagh, 
nothing now remains except scrub and brushwood. Nevertheless, the upland 


pastures have here and there preserved their clumps of pines, nowhere dense 
enough to arrest the view. Lower down, the Mendereh winds through the Trojan 
plain, stretching away to the Hellespont, beyond which spreads the glittering sea 
with its islands — Tenedos, Lemnos, Irabros, Samothrace — supported in the back- 
ground by the triangular headland of Mount Athos, The last hills of the Ida 
system, comprised between Besika Bay and the entrance of the Dardanelles, form 
an isolated barrier skirting the coast, and limited southwards by the mouth of the 
Scamander, towards the north by the delta of the Mendereh, the Simois of Homer. 
At this point Tenedos, with its bare hills, forms, with a few other islets less 
destitute of vegetation, a small archipelago off the Trojan coast. 

The south side of the Sea of Marmora, is also skirted b)' a small orographic 
system, separated from the southern hills by alluvial and tertiary formations, which 
mark the direction of an ancient strait flowing between the Euxine and iEgean. 
The peninsula of Cyzicum, connected by a narrow strip with the mainland, is also 
commanded by an eminence known as the Kopu-dagh, while the Marmora group, 
so named from its marble cliffs, consists of upheaved rocks. East of the Propontis 
is the peninsula lying between the gulfs of Ghemlik and Ismid, which has also its 
insular mass, whose chief summit, the Samanlu-dagh, rises to a height 2,730 feet, 
terminating westwards in the imposing headland of Boz-burun. This headland is 
of volcanic formation, like several other promontories stretching along the coast 
between the Gulf of Ismid and the Black Sea. 

Olympus, whose hazy outlines are visible from Constantinople on the southern 
horizon, is connected only by irregular spurs with the inland Murad-dagh high- 
lands. It consists of an almost isolated mass of gneiss and granite, interspersed 
along its slopes with diorite and marble. Although easily ascended, even on 
horseback, the actual height of the Kechish or central peak is still unknown. But 
it can scarcely be less than 8,000 feet, thus taking the first rank amongst the 
mountains of Northern Anatolia.* West of the Galatian Olympus, this is the 
first that has received the name of Olympus, and amongst the fifteen or twenty 
other peaks so named this has been chosen by the popular tradition as the chief 
abode of the gods. Facing Bithynia on the north, Mysia on the south side, it 
towers in isolated grandeur between these two provinces, commanding a vast 
horizon from the Euxine waters to the isles of Marmora and the Thraeian shores. 
South-eastwards it is continued by a narrow regular crest, which branches off 
further on in parallel ridges. Eastwards other less elevated eminences stretch 
away towards the valley of the Sakaria, which flows in a narrow bed between 
vertical or steeply inclined walls, rising to a moderate height above the surrounding 
plateau. The highlands, properly so called, reappear east of the Sakaria and of 
the steppe region occupying tin- centre of Anatolia. 

The various ranges intersecting the plateau between the Sakaria, Kizil-irmak, 
and Teshil-irmak basins, consist mainly of relatively slightly elevated crests, 
disposed in the direction from south-west to north-east. Few of them exceed 

* Height of Olympus, according to Kit-pert. 6,280 feet; retemiann, 6.420; Stelinitzkiy, 8.100; Mar- 
mont, 7,490 , Fritsch, 7,060. 


6,000 feet, and several are merely rolling hilla covered with pastures, bal probably 
destined one day to receive a large Bedentary population. For the soil is naturally 
fertile, and the atmosphere remarkably pure. Of the ranges in this region, the 
highest is the Ala-dagh, whose culminating peaks exceed 8,000 feet. It consists 
■ •I five parallel chains, sloping gently down to the surrounding plateau. The Ilkas- 
dagh, south of Kastamuni, and the Elma-dagh, south of Angora, also exceed 'i,000 
West of Sivas a range formed of parallel ridges running Bouth-west and 
north-east, takes the name of Ak-dagh, or " White Mountains," from its winter 
snow.-. ChihachefE assigns a height of 7,400 feel to its loftiest peaks. It is 
continued north-eastwards by the Yildiz-dagh, or "Star Range," which falls to 
about 3,000 feet, lint farther on the hills again rise to a considerable altitude 
merging at last in the Pontine system. A lofty ridge skirts the coast north of the 
dec]) valley <>f the Lyeus, or Ghermili. Sienites and porphyries, here and there 
underlying sedimentary rocks, are the prevailing formations in these ranges, which 
are pierced in many places by lava streams. North of Sliahin Carahissar, the 
Eazan-Kaza volcano rises to an elevation of over 8,300 feet. This coast range 
prohahlv abounds more than any other Anatolian mountains in iron, copper, and 
argentiferous lead ores. Here, according to the legend, were invented the hammer 
and anvil. 

Tin: Anatolian Water Systems — The Yeshil-irmak, Ki/h.-irmak and 

Sab w;ia. 

The Anatolian plateau being roughly inclined towards the north-west, its 
main drainage necessarily follows the same direction. Thus the running waters 
of more than half of the peninsula How to the Euxine, through the basins of the 
two Irmaks and Sakaria. But there still remain extensive central depressions, 
where the rainfall is collected in saline lakes. In former times, when the climate 
was more moist than at present, these now landlocked basins probably discharged 
their overflow seawards. But the old freshwater lakes have been transformed to 
salt lagoons by the gradual dessicatiou of the land and the excess of evaporation 
over the rainfall. 

In north-east Anatolia the largest river basin is that of the Yeshil-irmak, the 
ancient Iris, which receives nearly all its feeders from the western spurs of the 
Anti-Caucasus. The Tosanli-su, which, owing to its direction, is regarded as the 
main stream, has its source in the valley of the Kos-dagh, whose southern slope 
gives rise to the Kizil-irmak, the largest river in Asia Minor. It flows first west- 
wards, then trends north and south-east, receiving at Amasia the discharge of Lake 
Ladik-gol, now a small sheet of water, but which in the time of Strabo covered a 
vast area. Of the two streams, the Lycus, the Kelkit or Ghermili of the Turks, is 
the most copious, rising far to the east of the Tosanli about the meridian of 
Trebizond. Below the confluence the main stream receives no more affluents, and 
after piercing a rocky barrier, by which its course was formerly arrested, it spreads 
out in an extensive alluvial delta, which has already encroached some hundred 
square miles on the Euxine. 



Immediately east of the Yeshil-irmak flows the Termeh, the Thermodon of the 
Greeks, a far more copious stream than might be expected from the limited extent 
of its basin. Its upper valley was formerly associated with the legend of the 
Amazons, a legend which even still survives in the local traditions. One of the 
ridges pierced by the Termeh is continued westwards beyond the Iris under the 
name of Mason-dagh, or "Amazon Mountains." 

The Kizil-irmak, or " Red River " of the Turks, and Halys of the ancients, 
roughly describes a vast concentric curve with the Yeshil-irmak, or "Green River." 
The length of its course between its source in the Kos-dagh and its delta, is at least 
fivefold the direct distance between these two points. Its upper bed is at times 
completely dry in summer, and even lower down it is fordable in many places as far 

Fig. 101. — Delta of the Kizil-Irmak 

Scale 1 : 130.000. 

to 80 Feet. 

80 Feet and upw.irds. 
12 Miles. 

as the neighbourhood of the delta. The excess of evaporation over the rainfall in 
its basin gives it a brackish taste fully justifying its Greek appellation. In the 
Sivas plain it traverses beds of pure salt, whence the natives of Western Armenia 
derive their usual supply. Like the Yeshil, the Red River ramifies at its mouth 
into a number of branches, which have largely gained on the waters of the Kuxine. 
The old geographers, following the example of Herodotus, often took the Halys as 
the natural limit of Asia Minor, calling the vast region beyond its delta Trans- 
halysiun Asia. The choice of this boundary is explained by the military importance 
of three considerable streams — Thermodon, Iris, and Halys — following at short 
intervals like the moats of a citadel. 

Although the longest of all Anatolian rivers, the Kizil-irmak is less copious 

264 sni tii-\vi>ti:i:\ \-i\. 

than the Sakaria, the Sagaria or Sagarias of the ancients. Like the two Innaka, 
the Sakaria pursues a very meandering course nf about :{<!0 miles in the normal 
direction from east to west. On the plains it has frequently shifted its bed, and in 
the Byzantine annals mention is made of extensive hydraulic works undertaken to 
regulate its current. Several projects of canalisation have also been recently 
presented to the Turkish Government, one of which, prepared by French engineers 
in L870, proposed to render the river completely navigable throughout the year for 
L50 miles from its mouth by a system of Locks, cuttings, and lateral canals. 
Pending the execution of these plans, the Sakaria remains (innavigable, except for 
very light heats and rafts, on which timber and charcoal are floated down for 
Constantinople. The projected railway schemes have also hitherto remained in 
abeyance, but will no doubl sooner or later be realised, for the Sakaria route forms 
an important link in the shortest overland highway between England and India. 

The lacustrine region of Central Anatolia seems to have formerly formed part 
of the Sakaria basin, at least for the greater part of its extent. Here the largest 
sheet of water is the Tuz-gol, or "Salt Lake," which is at Least 60 miles long 
north-west and south-east, and nowhere Less than •'! or 1 miles wide. It COVena total 
area of over 400 square miles, but in summer its mean depth is probably less than 
7 feet. Towards the centre are seen the traces of a dyke over 7 miles long, 
constructed by a sultan for military purposes, and here the water is nowhere much 
more than '■'> feet deep. During the dry season its outlines could scarcely be 
recognised but for the plants growing along the shore, beyond which an unbroken 
deposit of salt stretches for many miles in some directions. In winter the whole 
depression is flooded, but even then the surface La covered by a saline crust from 2 
inches t,, t: or 7 feet in thickness, and generally solid enough to support a man on 
horsehack. According to Philipps, the water of the Tuz-gol is heavier and more 
saline than that of the Dead Sea, containing over thirty-two percent of salt, with a 
specific weight of 1 "J fit. 

West of the Tuz-gol the plain is studded with numerous ponds, tarns, salt pools, 
Bwamps, and rivulets, which evaporate in summer, and which besides salt, often 
contain sulphates of magnesia and soda. The temporary lakes stretching to the 
south and wesl are also charged with hitter magnesia salts, without any admixture 
of chloride of sodium. Such phenomena are common enough in closed basins, and 
an due to the different chemical constituents of the soil traversed by the streams 

I i drier parts of the steppe are clothed with an aromatic herb, which cattle 
eagerly devour, and which yields a perfumed oil, pronounced by Moltke to be as 
pleasant as essence of roses. 

Beside the Bteppe lakes, evidently the remains of an older and more extensive 
ba^in which drained northwards through the Sakaria, there are other reservoirs, 
which although now occupying distinct cavities in almost closed cirques, appear to 
have belonged to the Bystem of seaward drainage. Traces of old communications 
are indicated at several places by channels and ravines still showing the marks of 
running water. To the same marine basin of Central Anatolia apparently also 
belonged the reservoirs scattered over the depression lying between the Emir-dagh 



and Sultan-dagh, and which are alternately flooded basins and simple meres 
surrounded by saline incrustations. 

In its lower course, the Sakaria receives the overflow of a lake, which though of 
small size is very remarkable as the remains apparently of a channel, through which 
the Euxine communicated with the ^Egean before the opening of the Bosphorus 
farther west. This lake, the Sophon of the ancients, and present Sabanja, stands 
100 feet above sea level, and has a depth of over 120 feet. Yet it is a mere 
remnant of a former inland sea, as shown by the surrounding soil, which consists of 
fine sedimentary matter, wafted by the slightest breeze into dense clouds of dust. 
The lake seems even now marked out as the natural port of a navigable strait, 

Fig. 102.— Lake of Sabanja. 
Scale 1 : 630.000. 


E. of G^eer *cK 


SOto 160 

160 Feet and 

6 Miles. 

which might easily be constructed or restored between the Sea of Marmora and the 
Euxine by the Gulf of Ismid and the lower course of the Sakaria. Such a project 
was proposed to Trajan by Pliny the younger, and traces, .still visible in his time, 
attested that the enterprise had already been undertaken by Mithridates, Xerxes, or 
some other sovereign. It was again resumed at various epochs since the time of 
Solomon the Magnificent, but always unsuccessfully. According to several careful 
surveys, the intervening ridge is about 135 feet, so that the relative level of land 
and sea has been modified at least to this extent since the closing of the Sabanja 
strait, an event probably coincident with the opening of the Bosphorous. Along 
the Euxine coast old beaches are still visible at various points and at different 


heights \ij) to 100 feet, covered with sheila exclusively of tlio same species a> those 
dow inhabiting the surrounding waters. There are few more interesting regions 
than these shifting straits and isthmuses between Europe and Asia ; bul their 
geological history is --till bul imperfectly known. The regime of the current and 
counter-currenl between the Euxine and Sea of Marmora is not even yel accurately 
determined; nor has it been ascertained with certainty whether the two basins do 
not present some difference of level. The waters of the Euxine, Betting from the 
shores of European Turkey towards the Bosphorus, are not all able to escape 
through this narrow outlet. A portion of the Btream is thus deflected to the left 
along the Anatolian seaboard at a mean velocity of nearly.2 miles per hour, and tie- 
current is Celt as far east as Sinope. At the foot of the [neboli lighthouse, where it 
attains a speed of about 2| miles, the existence of regular tides in the Black 8 
were for the first time determined. On the neighbouring shores of the Bosphorus 
they vary with the winds from 1 to 5 inches. But at [neboli the tidal wave rushes 
in the form of a hore for over a mile up the rivulet. 

Like thai of Sabanja, the hake of Isnik, or Nicea, is a freshwater basin cora- 
municating through an emissary with the sea. Westwards the Gulf of Ghemlik 
penetrates far inland, as if to effect a junction with the lake, which was it*,. If no 
doubt at one time a marine inlet. It lies within 7 miles of the coast, and the 
difference of level is only 1"<* feet. Towards the Bouthwest another lacustrine 
basin, which has preserved its Greek name of Apollonia under the form of 
Abolonta or Abolumia, covers about the same area as the Lake of Nicea, and like it 
seems to have been much larger down to comparatively modern times. It com- 
municates westwards with the rapid river Susurlu-chai, nearly opposite the con- 
fluence of another Btream, emissary of Lake Maniyas, the ancient Bliletopolites or 
Aphanites. This basin, which is about the same size as thai of Apollonia, also 
stands at a slight level above the sea. It forms the last western link in a chain of 
lakes running parallel with the southern shores of the Sea of Marmora, and 
apparently representing an ancient "Propontis" between the .Lgean and the 
Euxine. Of the four chief lakes in this chain. Apollonia is the most utilised for 
navigation, the riverain <ireek population carrying on a local traffic with small 
craft which maintain the communications from village to village. 


<33gi w. 

West of the Susurlu-chai and of Lake Maniyas, the small basin of the Koja-chai, 
the ancient Granicus, is partly fed by the waters of Mount Ida. Like the neigh- 
bouring streams, the Koja, which separates the Trojan uplands from the rest of 
Anatolia, becomes a river properly so called only during the heavy rains and 
melting of the winter snows. Famous amongst these mountain streams is the 
Menendereh, immortalised in the Homeric songs, although it is still doubtful 
whether it is to be identified with the .Simois or the Scamander. According to 
most historians and archaeologists, the Mendereh is the Simois, although Schlieuiann, 



the illustrious explorer of the Hissarlik ruins, makes it the Xanthus, in accordance 
with the etymology of the present name. The aspect of the land shows that the 
plain of Troy is one of those Anatolian districts that have undergone most change 
during the historic period. The hills themselves have been but slightly modified 
by erosions and weathering ; but the intervening plain, formerly partly covered 
with reservoirs, is now dried up. A line of dunes connecting the Eren-koi hills 
with the Kum-Kaleh headland, has served to retain the alluvia and detritus washed 
down to the plain by the Mendereh and other streams. These waters are no longer 
accessible to the smallest craft, and Kalafat, where boats were formerly built, is 
now an inland agricultural hamlet. At present the alluvia of the Menendereb are 
borne seawards and carried by the Hellespont far into the ^Egean. Formerly the 

Fig. 103. — NlCEA and Ghemlik. 
Scale 1 : 735.000. 

to ICO Feet 160 Feet and upwards. 
. 12 Miles. 

Bunarbachi, identified by most travellers with the Homeric Scamander, drained to 
the Menendereb through a series of marshy lagoons. But its waters have been 
diverted to the sea near Tenedos by means of a cutting which now connects the 
Bunarbachi basin with Besika Bay. Thus the little rocky headland of Sigajus, with 
its funeral mounds, has been converted into an island. 

Amongst the torrents or rivulets flowing from Mount Ida and the neighbouring 
hills to the 2Egean, the Tuzla-su, or " Salt Stream,' - is remarkable for the fantastic 
form of its valley. After piercing the snowy heights, it runs parallel with the < lull' 
of Edremid, thus reaching the iEgean north of the Baba-kaleh headland. But 
instead of flowing directly to the sea, it skirts an intervening rocky barrier for a 
distance of UO miles. The white cliffs at the outlet of its valley are streaked in 
blue, red, and yellow, and disintegrated by a multitude of little saline springs 


801 PH-WESTEEN asi L 

intersecting the plain in all directions, at a b mperature of from 140° to 160° F., and 
flowing through a common thermal channel to the Tuzla-su. A vast quantity of 
salt might he derived from this source, which, however, according to Chihacheff, 
scarcely yields eighteen or twenty tons yearly. 

Southwards follow the Madara-chai, Khoja-chai, and Bakyr-chai successively ; 
but here the first really copious Btream is the Ghediz-ohai, the ancient Qermus, 
fertiliser of the Lydian plains. Rising near the town of Ghediz, whence its name, 
it escapes from the bills through a series of gorges down to the old lacustrine plain 
of Sardis. The brackish little upland lake of Mermereh, north of this plain, is 
perhaps a remnant of the inland sea which once flooded the Lydian district, and 
which escaped through the Menemen defile between the Sipylos and the Ilassan- 
i. Beyond the gorges the Ghediz, with its abundant sedimentary matter, has 

Fig. 104.— The Tczi.\-S< Valley. 

Scale 1 : 775 nnn 

to 6Q Feet. 


] ' Feet nni 


^^^_^^^^_ 12 Miles. 

never ceased to encroach on the gulf, gradually rilling up all the space, some 
hundred square miles in extent, stretching south of ilencmen between the western 
promontories of the Sipylos and the Phocoeau Hills. Pliny mentions Cape Levke 
(Leuke) as having thus become attached to the mainland: and this headland, the 
Tres-tepch of the Turks, now lies nearly 3 miles inland, being separated from the 
Gulf of Smyrna by shallow tishiiiLT lagoons. 

Ramifying into several branches, the Ghediz-chai delta still continues to 
advance somewhat irregularly seawards. Formerly it spread chiefly towards the 
west in the direction of tic Phocsean Hills; but the mouths of the delta are now 
extending southwards, in a way that threatens to block the entrance of the port of 
Smyrna. During the floods the sea is turbid with alluvia for a great distance from 
the mouth of the river, while farther east the harbour has lost all the limpid 



clearness of the iEgean waters. The time may even he calculated when the 
passage will be entirely closed. Before the chief mouth of the delta there is still a 
channel over 1 mile wide, with a depth varying from 60 to 120 feet ; but eastwards 
it narrows to a width of about 140 feet between a fortified point on the south, and 
a sandbank on the north side, where the depth, now about 60 feet, is yearly 
diminishing by from 8 to 10 feet. The channel has occasionally been suddenly 
scoured by storms ; but after these passing interruptions, the silting process is 
resumed at a rate that will probably reduce the whole harbour to a mean depth of 
about 40 feet towards the year 2,000. Then deep sea navigation will become 
difficult and even impossible, unless meantime the lower Hermus be again diverted 

Kg. 105.— Smyrna Channel. 
Scale 1 : 155.000. 

L ^ Oi UT-ee« 


to 6 Feet. 6 to 32 Feet. 32 to SO Feet. 80 to 160 Feet. 160 Feet and 


^— ^_^__ 21 Miles. 

through its old bed towards Phocaea, so as to carrv its alluvia westwards to the 
outer gulf. 

The same silting process, possibly aided by a gradual upheaval of the coast, is 
characteristic of the other streams flowing farther south to the iEgean. "While the 
port of Smyrna alone is threatened by the Ghediz, the Cayster, the ancient " Swan 
River" and modern Kuehuk-Mendereh, or "Little Mendereh," has long since 
choked the harbours of Ephesus, and the Great Meander has converted that of 
Miletus into an inland lake. Nowhere else are the fluvial deposits encroaching so 
rapidly on the sea, due regard being had to the insignificant discharge of these 
streams compared with that of such rivers as the Nile, Rhone, or Po. Thus, 
although the Little Meander has a course of scarcely more than 75 miles, in a basin 
only 1,200 square miles in extent, and although its average rainfall is one-fifth less 


than thai of France, it has sen! down sufficient matter in till the porta of Ephesos 
and the estuary, which, according to Leo the Deacon, was --till open in the twelth 
century. Eence the coast-line must have advanced nearly 5 miles since that time, 
a rate of progress which has led to the conclusion that such changes must have 
been at hast accelerated by oscillations of Level along the Ionian seaboard. 

The I'liiyuk Mendereh, or "Great .Meander." is in any ease one of the most 
copious of Anatolian streams. From source to mouth it has a total length of some 

230 miles, while some of its affluents are tin miles Long, and the whole basin, about 
9,500 square miles in extent, with a mean discharge of over r,000 cubic feet per 
second, judging at Least from the average local rainfall. It rises in the lakelet of 

Hoiran, which Lies at an altitude of about :(,0()0 (Vol on the plateau. Alter twice 
disappearing in the cavities of the limestone formations about tin- town of Dineir, 
it escapes from the hills to an extensive plain, formerly a lacustrine basin, where 
its waters are concealed by the dense sedge Lining its banks for miles. On Leaving 
this plain the Meander, doubled in volume by the Banas-chai, forces its way 
through narrow gorges down to the magnificent lowlands stretching thence to the 

const. During the tl Is it assumes formidable proportions, eating away its hanks, 

opening new channels, forming or sweeping away islands. In its lower course 
joined by the scarcely less copious Choruk-su, the ancient Lycus, which in the time 
ol Herodotus appears to have flowed at one point through a tunnel over half a mile 
long, formed by calcareous incrustat ions from the hundreds of limewater springs 
fringing both sides of its bed. The tunnel has disappeared, and the Ak-su, or 
"White River," which had contributed most to its formation, has been deflected 
farther up. Trees falling into the Ak-su, and even the wheels of mills ended on 
its banks, soon become petrified. 

The hill commandin<r the Meander and ( 'horuk confluence is flanked for some 


miles along its base by a regular two-storied terrace, rising about 300 feet al>ove 
the plain. This terrace, whose sparkling milk-white cascades are visible 18 miles 
off, has been entirely formed by the deposits of petrifying springs. Most travellers 
give it tlie name of Pambuk-Kaleh, or Pambuk-Kalessi, or "Cotton Castle," 
doubtless from the whitish fluffy looking masses precipitated by the waters. But 
the local name is Tambuk, which is certainly the Hierapolisof the Greeks. On the 
upper platform, over half a mile long, there well up numerous and extremely 
copious thermal springs, all slightly ferruginous and acidulous to the taste, all 
yielding carbonic acid, and varying in temperature from 98 to 'J<><> F. The ground 
is covered by thick layers of travertine deposited by these springs, traces of whose 
shifting beds are everywhere visible. All these phenomena produced a vivid 
impression on the ancients, and Strabo tells us that the Hierapolis waters became so 
rapidly solidified that when diverted into new channels these were presently 
converted into a monolithic block. The cavern which in his time was said to emit 
deadly carbonic acid vapours, seems t" have disappeared. 

Hut the ancients do not mention the real marvel of Tambuk, the rim of whose 
upper terrace is everywhere scored by sparkling cascades. liven where these are 
not fully developed or have ceased to flow, the neighbouring walls formed by the 


concretions of other streamlets look at a distance like so many rushing waterfalls. 
Of the six larger stony cataracts, one especially strikes the spectator by its vast 
size. This is the southern cliff lying immediately below the ruins of the ancient 
Hierapolis. Altogether these calcareous deposits of Tambuk are amongst the most 
remarkable formations of the kind in the whole world. Nowhere else does the slow 
and constant work of dripping or trickling water present more marvellous effects. 
In a cavity of the upper terrace several springs are collected in one pool over 10 
feet deep, studded with broken white marble friezes and shafts, the remains of an 
ancient portico. A thermal brook, escaping from this lakelet, traverses the 
plateau, penetrating beneath the vaults of a palace, whose walls it has covered 
with a coating over 30 feet thick. Farther on it is joined by another thermal 
rivulet, the united stream falling from stage to stage over the brink of the preci- 
pice. Although the actual discharge is probably not much more than twelve 
gallons per second, seen from below the cascade, blending with its sparkling stony 
walls, presents the appearance of a mighty river. The illusion is heightened in 
winter, in spring, and during the summer mornings by the vapours rising above 
the tepid waters, and forming a misty veil, which seems to half conceal the fall of 
some tumultuous Niagara. Even when the deception is dissipated by a nearer 
view, the glint of these glittering incrustations irresistibly suggests the presence 
of a vast glacier, or river suddenly congealed as it falls. Like the Alpine ice, the 
travertine of Hierapolis blends with its natural whiteness the lovely tints of a 
delicate blue, here and there interspersed with the green and rosy hues of marble 
and alabaster. Thus to the magnificent proportions of this marvellous amphi- 
theatre are added the excpiisite details of its dazzling white or softly tinted rocks. 
In its fall the water gradually cooling spreads in gentle folds, the last of which is 
precipitated as a snowy border. Each successive stage is thus fashioned like a 
rounded bowl, below which follow other " fonts" with polished rim, the water still 
falling from step to step of these " Neptunian stairs." But in its course it 
everywhere flings an embroidered mantle of wavy pattern over the rocky surface 
of the cliff, leaving no spot unarrayed with sculptured arabesques. 

Below the confluence of the petrifying waters from Tambuk and neighbouring 
heights, the Meander continues its course across the broad plain, where it describes 
those peculiar curves which are known by its name. At the same time these 
" meanderings," although remarkable enough, are far inferior to those of some other 
rivers, such as the Seine, Lot, Forth, and Mississippi. Its windings are on the 
whole of a local character, without any of those bold sweeps, by which the Kizil- 
irmak and Sakaria are distinguished. To these might, with far more justice, be 
applied the language of the Greek historian, who spoke of the Meander as on its 
course flowing back towards its source. 

On the other hand the Meander is specially noteworthy for its extraordinary 
encroachments seawards, which during the last twenty three centuries, have been 
exceeded by no other river of the same volume. To explain the phenomenon 
recourse has naturally been had to the usual hypothesis of upheaval, which however 
in this case has not yet been determined by any direct observations. Of the old Gulf 


of Latmos, on which stood t In - maritime city of Miletus, and which stretched 



northwards to the foot of the hill crowned by the temple of Priene, nothing 
remains except the small reservoir of lake Kapikeren Denizi or Akis-chai, whose 


west side now lies over 10 miles in a straight line from the coast. The former 
island of Lade, west of Miletus and north of the present course of the Meander, is 
now a mere protuberance in the midst of the inland marshes. The space thus 
gained on the sea in two thousand three hundred years, may be estimated at 130 
square miles, giving a mean yearly advance of about 40 feet. Assuming that in 
this region of comparatively recent alluvial formation the sea itself was only GO 
or 70 feet deep, and allowing a mean rise of some 30 feet through the alluvia of 
the Meander, the total quantity of matter deposited in this perkxl would be about 
350,000,000,000 cubic feet, or 17,500 cubic feet daily. This is certainly no extraor- 
dinary proportion, for even the Brenta, whose discharge has been most carefully 
studied, with an inferior volume deposits eight times as much in the Chioggia 
lagoon. But the deposits of the Meander probably greatly exceed the assumed 
ratio, for according to Chihacheff, lake Akis-chai now stands at an elevation of 96 
feet above sea level. But however this be, the Meander delta is one of those in 
which are combined all the elements of transformation — gulfs filled in, islands 
attached to the land, cities swallowed up in the sands. From the peaks of the 
Sumsun-dagh overlooking the plain, a varied prospect is commanded of all these 
secular changes, a white streak at the foot of a green hill in the distance marking 
the site of Palatia, all that now remains of the once-famous Miletus. 

Lacustrine Basins and Rivers draining to the Mediterranean — The 

Seihun and Jihvn. 

On the Anatolian slope draining southwards, the first lake which discharges to 
the Mediterranean appears, like the Akis-chai, to form part of a marine inlet 
closed by recent alluvia, and gradually raised to its present level of 96 feet above 
the sea. This is the Kojez-liman, or Caunus of the ancients, which even in the 
time of Strabo was already cut off from the coast. Hence at least eighteen or 
nineteen centuries have elapsed since the old gulf has become a lake. But the 
coast-line has changed, for the town, which then stood close to the sea, now lies 5 
miles inland. Another proof of change is a sarcophagus, which, after having been 
submerged to a third of its height, now stands once more on dry land. This 
Lycian coast is the only part of the Anatolian seaboard where corals (ehtdreora 
c&spitosa} build extensive reefs. Red coral also grows in the shallows, but its 
branches are too small to repay the trouble of fishing it. 

On the south-west coast of Lycia, the harbour of Patara has also been trans- 
formed to a lake, or rather a morass. But a far more important change has taken 
place in Pamphylia, on the north side of the gulf of Adalia. Here the extensive 
lake of Cypria, of which Strabo speaks, has been replaced by marshy and scrubby 
tracts, and lagoons separated from the sea by a strip of yellow Band. Chihacheff 
estimates at about 160 square miles the surface of the Pamphylian lacustrine basin, 
which now forms part of the mainland. Besides the fluvial alluvia, this reservoir 
has been filled in by the deposits from innumerable calcareous springs, like those 
of Tambuk. Near Adalia the face of the cliffs has evidently advanced at least 


SOUTH-WESTERN AS! \ feet, thanks to these accumulated incrustations. The streams thai have 
red the land with layers of travertine are incessantly shifting their beds, 
sometimes even disappearing altogether under natural galleries in the porous soil. 
Thus the hydrographic system becomes modified from age to age, so thai it is no 
Longer possible to reconcile the old accounts with the presenl conditions. The 
Cataracts spoken of by Straho as a large river rushing impetuously over a pre- 
cipitous rock has ceased to exist, having probably ramified into a number of 
surface or subterranean branches. 

The Ak-su, or " White River," which furrows the western plains of litis stony 
basin, rises in the hills to the west of Lake Kgherdir, which may possibly com- 
municate with it through an underground channel. Although less extensive than 
the great Lycaoniun Salt Lake, that of Eghidir is much deeper, and probably the 

Fig. 107. — Plains of ihk Lowbb Mbandek. 

Scute 1 : MO.OOO. 

L . of (jreenwicb 

P7 - IU 

97 - 50 



Fifth Centuiy, Fifth to 

B.C. S.'ciiixl. 

S' 'ond to 
present time. 


is hum 

;ia) Feet and 

most voluminous in Asia Minor. It is divided by a transverse ridge into two 
sections, the southernmost of which resembles an Alpine lake. Encircled by steep 
wooded escarpments, and studded with islets where the white hamlets flitter amid 
clusters of poplars, it presents at every step an endless change of scenery. Very 
different are the two reservoirs of Buldar and Ohuruk-su, lying farther west, and 
with their low monotonous beaches presenting for the most part the aspect of 
dreary marshes or lagoons. 

Amongst the closed basins of Asia Minor must also be included the lieishehr- 
gdl, or Kereli, the Karalitis of the Greeks, which, although smaller in extent, 
probably contains a larger volume than the greal Salt Lake. Mosl of the numerous 
torrents flowing from the neighlxmring hills disappear in the crevasses of the soil 
before reaching this reservoir, which is fed chiefly by springs welling up in the 



lacustrine cavity itself, or flowing from fissures in the encircling- rocks. Mingling 
with the unwholesome waters of the lake, these springs thus become lost to the 
riverain populations, who are obliged to sink wells in the immediate neighbourhood 
of this fresh-water but unpalatable reservoir. 

The Beishehr-gol, which according to Chihacheif stands -3,800 feet above sea 
level, discharges its overflow through an emissary flowing from its southern 
extremity to a depression lying some 50 feet lower down. This depression was till 

Fitf. 10S. — Lake of Egherdib. 
Stale 1 : 750,000. 

SO " " 

5 7 T 1SBAR' 


II" i0" 

12 iliks. 

recently flooded by lake Soghlu, which had a mean depth of 20 to 25 feet, with an 
area of about 70 square miles, and a volume of over 35 billions cubic feet. Yet 
this vast body of water disappeared towards the middle of the present century, 
having probably forced its way through some hitherto obstructed underground 
gallery seawards. The alluvial tracts developed in the lacustrine basin have since 
been converted into productive lands by the local peasantry, who, according to a 
traditional custom, became proprietors of the reclaimed soil by yielding half of the 


firsl and a tenth of subsequent oropa to the Government. The other small lakes of 
Lycia, in the Llmalu basin and aeighbouring plains, also discharge their overflow 
through subterranean channels excavated in the limestone rocks. The Avlan- 
Oghlu, south of Elmalu, is fed by a rapid stream some 30 feel broad and or 7 

deep, and its emissary, after plunging into a deep crevasse, reappears in the form of 
copious springs near the village id' Phineka, not Ear from the coast. According to 
a tradition mentioned by Hamilton, the valley now flooded by Lake Eghedir was dry 
land eight hundred years ago, when the obstruction of some subterranean passage 
caused the waters to accumulate in the depression. 

Easl of this depression siime other now closed lacustrine basins appear to have 
formerly drained to the Mediterranean. Such is the Kara-hunar, or " Black 
Fountain," which is encircled by volcanic cones and lava streams. South of it the 
shallow lagoon of Eregli stretches for some 60 miles parallel with the northern base 
o| the Bulgar-dagh. This extensive basin is studded with reservoirs, some always 
saline, others tilled in winter by small freshwater affluents, but again slightly 
brackish iu summer. Eregli still drains to the Mediterranean through a rivulet, 
which in spring is swollen to considerable proportions by the melting snows. At 
this season both Eregli and Kara-bunar, as well as all the low-lying marshy tracts, 
are converted into a vast inland sea 60 miles broad, and stretching westwards to the 
gates of Konieh. 

In classic times both the Castros, or modern Ak-su, and the neighbouring 
Eurymedon, or Kopro-su, were navigable at their mouth. Now they are closed to 
small craft ; while the Malas, or Manavgat, is navigable by sailing vessels, although 
not spoken of by the old writers as accessible to shipping. On the other hand, the 
Calycadnus (Lrmerek, or (iok-su) although the most copious coast stream wist of 
Cilieia Gampestris, is too rapid to have ever been navigable. Farther east the 
Tarsus-chai, or " River of Tarsus," in Cilieia proper, is the famous Cydnus of the 
ancients. At its source, one of the most copious in Asia Minor, countless rivulets 
springing from a crevassed rock are collected in a common basin, whence the 
Cydnus descends through wild gorges and romantic cascades down to the fertile, 
plain of Tarsus. Farther on it winds through a series of swamps, remnants of an 
old lake, to the coast a little west of the Seihun. Like so many other Anatolian 
streams, it has frequently shifted its bed, and since the end of the sixteenth century 
has been deflected to the east of Tarsus, which formerly stood on its banks. 

But the pre-eminently wandering streams are the Last Cilician Sarus and 
Pyramus, the Seihun (Sihun, Sihan, Saran) and Jihun (Jihan) of the Turks and 
Arabs. The Sarus, which is the longest and most copious, flows from the highlands 
north-east of Mount Arga-us, and collects all the streams traversing the parallel 
depressions of the Anti-Taurus. On the west it is joined by other torrents which, 
descending from the central plateau, pierce the Taurus through gorges even more 
inaccessible than the Cilician Gates. The Pyramus rises in the upland region, 
forming the water-parting between its basin and thai of the L^uphrates. But 

hitherto Strabo is th ily traveller who describes its source, and he also speaks in 

remarkably precise terms of the gorge through which it escapes to the plains. 



" The prominences of one wall correspond exactly with the depressions of the other, 
so that if brought together they would fit into each other. Towards the centre of 
the gorge the fissure is so contracted that a dog or a hare could clear it at a bound." * 


In its lower course the Pyramus collects all the torrents from the hilly district 
stretching east of the Anti-Taurus; but these uplands, being less exposed to the 
rain-bearing winds than those of west Cilicia, receive a smaller quantity of water. 
Hence, notwithstanding the greater extent of its basin, the Jihun is much inferior 
in volume to the Seihun. According to the engineers who have surveyed the land 
for the projected railway between Mersina and Adana, its discharge is scarcely 

Fig. 109 — Mouths ok the Seihun and Jihun. 
Scale 1 : 1,280,000. 

to 80 Feet. 

) to 160 Feet. 

lfiO Feet and 

, 24 Miles. 

more than a third of that of the western stream.! Nevertheless it is navigable in 
its lower course for over (30 miles from its mouth. 

Throughout the historic period both rivers have never ceased to wander over 
the alluvial plains which they have developed west of the Gulf of Alexandretta. 
At present their mouths are separated by a space of 43 miles as the bird flies. 
But from the old records it appears that their currents were often intermingled in 
a common estuary. During the last twenty-three centuries as many as seven great 
changes have taken place. Three times they have flowed together in a common 

* Book XII., chap. 4. 

t The Cilician rivers : — 
( vilnus (TareuB-chai) 
Sarus (Seihun) 
Pyramus (Jihun) 




Area of Bans 
(square miles . 



Mean discharge 
per second 
(cubic feet'. 




channel, four times independently to the Bea ; and even now ;i Blight lateral catting 
would Buffice again to unite them. During these shifting* over the plain, they 
have continued to advance with their alluvia incessantly seawards. The Chukur- 
ova plain, and most of the tracl stretching for over <in miles between Tarsus and 
Sis, along the cast fool of the Taurus, arc their creation. The Kara-tasli, or" lilaek- 
roek " headland, which serves as a southern barrier to the sedimentary matter 
washed down from the interior, i^ an old island, which has thus become connected 
with the mainland. " In the same way," says an oracle quoted by Strabo, "the time 

will come when the silver waters of the I'yramus will reach the sacred shores of 
Cyprus." The muddy tracts about both mouths are still a sort of debatable 
territory between land and sea. Flora and fauna suggest the recent ascendency of 
the marine waters, which teem with fish, and which are frequented by myriads of 
aquatic birds, such as the pelican, swan, goose, and duck. The surrounding .sands 
are also the resort of turtles of gigantic size. 

Climate, Flora, and Fauna. 

Regarded as a whole, Asia Minor is colder than the European peninsulas under 
the same latitude, and is subject to greater extremes of temperature. The contrast 
is due to their relative positions, Spain, Italy, France, and Greece being protected 
front" the polar winds by the Pyrenees, Alps, and Balkans, whereas Anatolia is 
partly exposed to these currents sweeping unimpeded across the Russian steppes 
and the Euxine. The section of the Anatolian seaboard washed by the Kuxine 
waters itself supplies a Striking example of the climatic effects produced by 
sheltering mountain-ranges. Thus the western coast /.one, comprised between 
Constantinople and Sinope, is exposed to keen winter blasts and sultry summer 
heats, while farther east this " Byzantine " climate becomes continually modified 
towards the north-east, where the hd'ty barrier of the Caucasus intercepts the arctic 
winds blowing towards Anatolia. Here the extremes of annual temperature are 
less marked, and plants which avoid the bleat west coast flourish on the banks of 

the i e sheltered eastern streams. The olive and orange begin to be met in the 

neighbourhood of towns and villages, while the hill-sides arc clothed with magnifi- 
cent pine forests. According t<> Koch, the Choruk Valley is the original home of 
ihepinea, so characteristic of the Mediterranean botanical zone. 

The western shores of Asia Minor, washed by Mm- 33gean, are intersected by 
isothermal lines slightly divergent from the parallels of latitude. Here the mean 
temperature is somewhat lower than on the opposite coast of Greece, and the 
climatic changes are also generally more abrupt and irregular. The normal direc- 
tion of the winds is at the same time endlessly modified by the islands fringing 
the seaboard, and by the numerous indentations along the Ionian coast. Ever}' 
headland, every channel, so to say, has it> special atmospheric currents, while at 
the entrance of the marine inlets a struggle takes place between the winds of 
different temperature sweeping down from the interior and blowing inland from 


the sea. The sudden gusts and squalls due to this cause render certain waters 
absolutely unnavigable in winter, while the vicissitudes of temperature prevent the 
vegetation from assuming a sub-tropical character. The chamaerops palm and date 
do not grow spontaneously in west Anatolia, and clusters of palms are met on the 
coast no farther north than Patmos, hence called Palmosa. 

Being well sheltered by the various sections of the Taurus, the southern zone 
of Asia Minor naturally enjoys a far warmer climate than other parts of the 
peninsula. Within an equal distance there are few regions presenting a greater 
difference of mean temperature than the coasts of Tarsus and Sinope. On the 
Cilician coast the pleasantest season comprises the last two months of the year, 
separated from the summer heats by the so-called kassiifi, a short autumnal 
interval which usually lasts about eight days. During this period the atmosphere 
becomes cleansed from all impurities by violent storms accompanied by heavy 
downpours and hail, and the inhabitants are now able to descend from their 
summer encampments down to the plains. 

The upland valleys and plateaux of the interior offer the greatest diversity of 
climate, according to the altitude and aspect of the land, and the thousand con- 
trasts presented by its relief. But a common feature of the whole region com- 
prised within the encircling ranges is its scanty rainfall. Little moisture is 
brought to the Anatolian plateaux by the clouds, while the coastlands themselves 
receive less rain than western Europe. Although Asia Minor has an area about 
equal to that of France, the collective discharge of all its rivers can scarcely be 
estimated at more than 70,000 cubic feet per second, or about one-third of the 
united volume of the French streams. Contrasted with the Pontine region, which 
enjoys a considerable rainfall during the summer months, the peninsular region 
belongs to the sub-tropical zone, which is marked by comparatively dry summers. 
Thus even at Smyrna, notwithstanding its exposure to the moist sea-breezes, the 
fall during the months of June, July, and August, is only two inches, or less than 
the fifteenth part of the average - annual discharge. But in certain inland districts 
the blue sky remains at times unfleeked by a single cloud for six or seven months 
together. While the coast climate may on the whole be compared with that of 
southern France, the inland plateaux present meteorological conditions analogous to 
those of the Turkestan steppes.* 

In Anatolia malaria has long been endemic. In shifting their beds all the 
rivers have strewn the plains with meres and stagnant waters, while so many 
swamps have been formed by inundations or the retreat of the sea that large tracts 
on the plains and uplands are constantly wrapped in a pestiferous atmosphere. 
There can be 'no doubt that since the flourishing period of Ionian culture the 
climate has greatly changed for the worse. The deterioration is attested by the 
ruins of ancient cities, such as Miletus, lying in districts now no longer inhabitable. 
There was a time when the rivers were confined to their beds, and when the 
vapours were arrested by the trees fringing their banks. But so ruthless has been 

* Mean probable temperature of Asia Minor: winter, 40 V. : summer. 72° F. ; average, 54° F. 
Climate of Smyrna : extremes, 40°— 103° F. ; mean, 65° F. ; rainfall, 24 inches. 


the destruction of timber in the greater part of the peninsula, lhat the contami- 
nated air of the plains and valley- is freely watted over the uplands. The natives 
show great skill in selecting the sites of their summer camping-grounds amongst 
the hills, where they are sheltered by crests or headlands from the effluvia of the 
low-lying marshy lands. In some districts, the villages on the plains are com- 
pletely abandoned during the ho1 Beason, when officials, peasants, thieves, and 
mendicants migrate bodily to the upland yaiku or encampments. In the open 
districts these are composed <d' tents or stone cabins; in the wooded regions of north 
Anatolia, of log-huts, like the Russian izbas. Several of these temporary villages, 
standing mostly on the ruins of old towns, are important markets, visited by 
traders from the coast for the purchase of butter, cheese, cattle, and other agricul- 
tural produce. 

On the inland plateaux, the scanty vegetation flourishes chiefly in the spring. 
It presents a marked contrast to the varied flora of the surrounding coastlands, 
where are successively represented all the botanical /ones of the neighbouring 
lands. Thus the rich vegetation of the Pontus forms a transition to that of 
Mingrelia, while in the Troad are found all the plants of Macedonia and Thrace, 
Mile by side with many Asiatic types. The two Ionias of Anatolia and Europe 
havc> in the same way exchanged their characteristic- species across the islands of the 
.Tigean Sea, while in Cilicia many Syrian and even Kgyptian specimens have 
become acclimatised. Thus in the history of its flora, as well as in that of it- 
inhabitants, the peninsula forms a land of transition between the throe continents 
of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The .Mediterranean vegetation is represented chiefly 
by evergreen shrubs, such as the laurel, arbutus, and myrtle, which on the slopes of 
the Anatolian hills acquire an extraordinary development. The oak also is here 
found in greater variety than in any other part of the world, offering as many as 
fifty-two species altogether, of which twenty-six occur nowhere else. 

The most extensive Anatolian forest is the Agach-deniz, or " Sea of Trees," 
which covers the Boll Hills to the east of the Sakaria Valley. -Ml the northern 
-lopes ol* the ranges running parallel with the Ku.xine are richly wooded, while 
forest tracts are also met in the intervening valleys and river gorges. The Agach- 
deniz supplies timber for building purposes ajid masts for the Turkish navy ; but in 
general, forestry is still in a rudimentary state. In the inland districts lying off 
the main routes little use is made of the timber except for fuel, and in Caria this is 
often obtained by the destructive process of firing the woodlands. 

The terraced disposition of the vegetable zone on the slopes of the encircling 
ranges is nowhere better Been than along the southern face of the Cilician Taurus. 
The subtropical belt of palm-groves and garden-plots enclosed by hedges of aloes 
leads to the caduceous forest timber clothing the lower hills. Farther up come the 
conifers — at first the sombre pine and many species of juniper, then Cilician spruce 
and cedars. Nowhere else in Anatolia or Syria, not even on the Lebanon itself, arc- 
to be found such magnificent cedar-groves as those- which girdle the Eulgar-dagh 
escarpments to an altitude of G,000 feet and upwards. Here grow several millions 
of these glorious evergreens, disposed in clusters towering above the pines, firs, and 


junipers. But here also the fires kindled by the improvident natives, often 
wrap the hill-sides in a sheet of flame, destroying thousands of trees in a few- 
hours. Beyond the forest zone follows the brushwood corresponding to the 
upland pastures of Alpine Europe. On the Cilician Taurus grassy slopes are rare, 
except along the line of running waters, and to the very foot of the arid or snow- 
flecked crags the ground is overgrown with woody plants and lovely evergreen 
shrubs. At an elevation where the European highlands present nothing but 
monotonous gray surfaces, the heights are carpeted with stretches of bright-coloured 
flowers, imparting to these silent uplands a diversity of aspect of which the western 
Alps can give no idea. The north-eastern Pontine ranges present a much greater 
resemblance with those of Central Europe, but they are far more diversified, some 
of the pastures yielding as many as two hundred species of Alpine plants. 

The presence of foreign varieties lias been found associated with the settlements 
of immigrants from distant lands. Thus amid the ruins of strongholds erected by 
the Genoese, or the Knights of Rhodes, along the headlands and islands of the 
southern seaboard, flourish the soapwort and other European plants, sprung from 
those brought hither by the western settlers some six or seven hundred years ago. 
Garden-plots and orchards also occur, where according to the local tradition, the 
walnut, apple, cherry, and other fruit-trees, were planted by the Genoese. On the 
other hand, Europe has during recent times been indebted to Anatolia for a far 
greater number of specimens. During the sixteenth century the western botanic 
gardens were little more than nursery-grounds, for acclimatising the evergreen oak, 
the agnus castus, eastern juniper, white and black mulberry, viburnum tinus, 
sumach, and other Levantine varieties. 

Little effort has hitherto been made to repair former waste by fresh plantations. 
The attempts made in this direction have hitherto been chiefly limited to the few 
trees that have, so to say, become the inseparable companions of man — the plantain, 
associated with his repose, his prayers, his pastimes, and whole domestic life ; and 
the cypress, which watches over his grave. Nowhere else are these plants more 
venerated than in Anatolia, where they are almost regarded as sacred objects of 

The wholesale destruction of timber has been followed by the disappearance of 
numerous animal species. Thus the lion, which survived down to the time of the 
Crusades, is now no longer met, except, perhaps, in the more inaccessible gorges of 
the Lycian Taurus. Here also the Turks speak of the presence of another large 
feline variety, to which they give the name of kapfan, and which may perhaps be 
a leopard or a panther, like the variety that still infests the Tmolus highlands. 
Nor is the hyena completely extirpated, and the night is still everywhere alive with 
the howlings of the jackals, with which the village pariah dogs keep concert. In 
the eastern districts the jackal is rarer than in the centre and on the Ionian coast, 
and it has been partly replaced by the brown and the black wolf. The fox is also 
less frequent than in southern Europe, and the carnivora are altogether mainly 
represented by the various species of half-savage dogs that prowl about the streets 
of all the large towns. They are rarely if ever attacked by hydrophobia, although 


in tin' neighbourhood of Smyrna a few cases are reported of deaths following the 
bite of mad dogs, wolves and jackals. Against this malady the peasantry use a 
decoction of bitter roots. 

The larger European game is also found in Anatolia, where the wild-boar is very 
common in some districts. The deer and roebuck are mel in herds, and the gazelle, 
unknown in Europe, frequents the lowland plains of Cilieia, while other species of 
antelope probably inhabit the plateaux. The eegagra, or wild-goat, Mill survives in 
the Cilician Taurus and the Anti-Taurus, near the regions where the goal app 
as a domestic animal in ancient times. So striking is the resemblance between the 
two in size, outward form, and shape of the horns, that it is probable the tame 
variety has sprung from the wild stock. The upland steppes are also frequented 
by the wild-sheep, a species of mufflon supposed to be the prototype of the European 
sheep. Thus Asia Minor, the original home of so many vegetable species, would 
appear to have also yielded two of our most valued domestic animals. On the other 
hand, it may he doubted whether the Angora goat, s,> remarkable lor the delicacy of 
its silken, glossy down, is of Anatolian origin. It is mentioned by none id' the old 
writers, who nevertheless describe all the sheep whose wool was used in the 
manufacture of tine woven fabrics. Hence the introduction of the Angora goat is 
attributed by Chihaoheff to the Turkish immigrants in the eleventh or twelfth 
centuries. This writer is inclined to trace these tribes and their Bocks back to the 
valley of the Iiukhtarma, a tributary of the [rtish, in the Altai Mountains. Here 
is also found a species of cat, more remarkable even than that of Angora, 
distinguished like the native goat tor its silky fleece, and apparently indicating 
analogous climatic conditions. But however this be, the Angora goat is at present 
limited to a district about 16,000 square miles in extent, and even here it flourishes 
only on the plateaux and in the valleys lying between the altitudes (if "J, 00(1 and 
5,000 bet above the sea. The flocks number altogether from (00,000 to 500,000 
goats, which are extremely difficult to acclimatise elsewhere, the hast change of 
locality causing a corresponding deterioration in the quality of the fleece. Of the 
ovine family, the most ordinary variety is the karamanli, or fat-tailed sheep, which 
prevails also in Syria, on the Asiatic steppes, and even in Southern Russia. The 
opi n plateaux and steppes are the proper domain of the sheep, the goat being 
confined to the escarpments of the encircling ranges. The steppes themselves are 
everywhere undermined by the galleries of the burrowing jerboa. 

Horned cattle were never very numerous in Asia Minor, although the south- 
western regions are said to be frequented by a few zebus, with a hump and short 
movable horns, like those of the Indian variety. But the most eummon bovine 
species is the buffalo, which is everywhere found along the river banks and on the 
marshy lands fringing the peninsula. It is even said to roam wild, or else to have 
lapsed into the savage state, in the swampy tracts formed by the shitting beds of 
the Seihun and Jibuti, and perhaps in some other districts. The only variety of 
camel is the one-humped species, which is utilised as a pack animal, bearing loads 
of 250 lbs. even over the mountain passes and escarpments. The caravans, consist- 
ing of from seven to nine camels tied together by a string, are usually headed by a 


small ass, whose rider's legs almost touch the ground. The Anatolian camel 
nowhere betrays that antipathy for the equine species which it manifests else- 
where ; it associates peaceably with the horse, and has even been seen yoked 
together with the ass. 

The immigration of the camel, probably dating from the twelfth century, is one 
of the most striking signs of the territorial and political changes that have taken 
place in Asia Minor. For this animal symbolises the substitution of Oriental 
culture for the civilisation of the Mediterranean races. Even the present race of 
Anatolian horses seems to be mostly a cross on eastern stock. Like the Turkoman 
variety, it has long legs and a comparatively large head, while the tail resembles 
that of the Persian breed. It is an active, hardy animal, distinguished, especially 
in the eastern provinces, for its graceful form, but nowhere very numerous. As a 
beast of burden it yields not only to the camel, but also to the ass, the latter a 
small debased variety far inferior to the superb donkeys of Syria and Egypt, and 
to the wild species, a few specimens of which are said still to survive in the 
wooded districts of Eastern Anatolia. The mule, said by a tradition recorded 
in the Iliad to have been first bred in the peninsula, is still employed by the 
Anatolians, and preferred even to the horse, both for mounting and as a pack 

One of the most characteristic features of the Anatolian landscape is the stork, 
which in some villages is more numerous than the people themselves. At the time 
of the yearly migrations to the winter quarters in Egypt, they collect in flocks of 
25,000 or 30,000 on the borders of the marshy tracts, where they take wing for the 
flight across the Mediterranean. Like the crows, magpies, and swallows, they 
prove valued allies to the husbandman when the locusts settle in vast multitudes 
on the land. But a still more welcome friend is the smarmar (turdus roseus), a 
pink thrush with black wings, which falls furiously on the destructive insects, 
killing them not only for food, but for the mere pleasure of exterminating them. 
On one occasion the French engineer, M. Amat, saw the inhabitants of a whole 
village coming out, voluntarily giving up their houses to these carnivorous birds 
during the breeding season. 

Inhabitants of Asia Minor. 

The inhabitants of Asia Minor are of very diverse origin. Forming the western 
extremity of the continent, the peninsula became the natural converging point of 
all the warlike, nomad, or trading peoples migrating westwards. The southern 
districts were formerly occupied by Semitic tribes, whose speech seems to have 
prevailed even in the interior. In the south-west they appear to have become 
intermingled with a dark race, possibly Kushites. In the eastern provinces the 
chief ethnical elements were allied to the Iranians, and spoke dialects akin to the 
Zend, while others represented those immigrants from the North collectively 
grouped as "Turanians." In the west opposite streams of migration poured in 
across the Bosphorus and Hellespont. Here the Thracians maintained the com- 


mercial and social relations between the European and Asiatic lands encircling the 
Propontis, while a constant intercourse was kepi up by the Eellenes between the 

opposite shores of the .Korean Sea. Numerous contingents arrived even from the 
remotest parts of Europe, amongst them the Gauls fGalatians), who for centuries 
maintained a separate national existence in Western Asia. Bui at no period <li<l 
the peninsula belong to a Bingle homogeneous people, one in speech and culture. 
Ionians, Leleges, Carians, Phrygians, Paphlagonians, Lycians, and Cilicians, one 
and all sought eacli to preserve their own autonomy. Many isolated cities, after 
securing their individual independence, rose to power and splendour; but no 
political unity was ever achieved by the confederation of these places. Such 
uniformity as finally existed was the result rather of foreign conquests, and was 
effected by reducing the inhabitants to a state of political thraldom. 

In this vast ethnical crucible most of the old nationalities have lost their very 
nanus, and the traditions of their racial origin. Where are now the Chalybes, who 
taught their neighbours the art of smelting and forging irony Where are the 
Galatians, brethren of the Western (iauls, who gave their name to one of the great 
Anatolian provinces? These, in common with most of the peoples originally 
occupying the inland plateaux, have become gradually fused with the surrounding 
populations. The Greeks in tin* West, the Kurds and Armenians in the east, are 
the only communities thai can trace their origin back to the dawn of history. And 
even amongst those calling themselves Greeks there are many belonging to the 
older stocks, although now assimilated in speech and religion to the dominant race 
on the Ionian seaboard. 

Tin; Vi in ks and Turks. 

In the interior the bulk of the people are now of Turki stock. On these 
plateaux with their saline lakes the immigrants from the Aral and Balkash steppes 
found a new and congenial home, where they could continue to lead the same 
pastoral life as heretofore. Amongst these intruders there are many whose social 
usages have undergone little change since their arrival, living witnesses of a 
general culture that has ceased to exist in the regions of the globe regarded as 
civilised. Thus the Yuruks, sprung from the earliest Turki immigrant tribes, and 
belonging to the horde of the " Black Sheep," which also included the Seljueides, 
are still nomads, migrating with their Hocks twice a year between their summer and 
winter camping-grounds. Some possess real houses, like the civilised Turks, but 
most of them still dwell in black goat-hair tents or huts made of branches, 
approached on all fours, and nearly always full of smoke. The Yuruks are 
Mohammedans in name only, and their women go unveiled, even raising theirhcads 
when appealed to by the passing wayfarer for milk or water. The cabins are 
usually disposed in a circle with an opening towards the open space, where the 
tribal interests are discussed in common. Each encampment forms a world apart, 
which neither invites the stranger nor yet refuses hospitality when asked. The 
Yuruk tribes scattered over Asia Minor are reckoned by the hundred; in the 
province of Brussa alone there are over thirty, subdivided into clans without any 



geographical cohesion. They are commonly spoken of under the generic name of 
" Turcomans," a somewhat vague term, here applied indifferently to nomad 
shepherds of all races, and not necessarily implying identity of origin with the 
Central Asiatic Turkomans. Nevertheless several writers draw a distinction between 
Yuruk and Turcoman, regarding the former as tent-dwellers without fixed abode, 

Fig. 110.— Villages ok various Nationalities in the Dardanelles District. 

Scale 1 : 300.000. 



80 to 160 Feet 


to 80 Feet. 

100 Feet and 

6 Miles. 

the latter as already half settled, chiefly on the central plateaux and eastern 
uplands. At the same time the transit inn from one to the other habit of life is far 
more common than is generally supposed. In Anatolia, as in Persia, the increase 
or diminution of the agricultural element is a cpiestion not so much of race as of 
public security. The Turcomans especial!}' pass readily from the nomad to the 


settled state in peaceful times, when the camping-grounds soon give place to 
permanent hamlets. Even the Chingani, or Gipsies, tramps, horsedealers, tins 
who are very numerous in Anatolia, and who usually camp on the outskirts of the 
towns, are often confounded with the Yuruka under the genera] designation of 
Turkomans. In Lycia, where they reside in permanent Tillages, the Gipsies are 
chiefly stock-breeders. 

In the same region villages and encampment- often belong to totally different 
nationalities -Greeks in one place, Cherkesses in another, elsewhere Turks or 
Yuruks. In the town- also every race has its separate quarter, so that no general 
ethnological map could convey a complete idea of all these intermingled yet distinct 
populations. Even where the people belong to the same stock, thej are frequently 
split up into tribes living apart and at times hostile to each other. Certain Afshar 
or Turkoman hordes prowling about the Turkish villages differ from the residents 
only in their habits of life and traditions of independence. They constitute distinct 
communities, who seek to distinguish themselves from their neighbours by their 
arms and costumes. Conspicuous amongst them are the Zeibeks of the Misoghis 
highlands, descendants of one of the first intruding Turki tribes, who have kept 
alive the memory of their ancestral glories, and who still endeavour to impose by 
the splendour of their attire. Thanks to this love of finery and of sumptuous arms, 
tlie-e tall and athletic Tatars have unjustly earned the reputation of dangerous 
brigands. At the same time they are certainly a warlike people, with traditions of 
honour, full of pride, ami, a- the name implies, each "a prince unto himself." 
They fancy the whole world is theirs by right, and the Turkish Government has 
in \ain endeavoured to assimilate them to the rest of the population by interdicting 
the use of their national costume. Other mean- have been adopted to enforce 
submission; nearly all the young men have been pressed into the service, and 
thousands perished on the Bulgarian battlefields during the late Russo-Turkish war. 

" Turk," in the ordinary language, is a term applied indiscriminately to all 
sedentary Mohammedans in Asia Minor, whatever be their origin. Thus the 
numerous Albanians sent against their will to serve in the peninsula are regarded 
as Turks, although through their Pelasgian forefathers really akin to the Greeks. 
The Mussulman Bosniaks and Bulgarians, who since the recent wars have migrated 
in thousands across the Bosphoru-, are also called Turks, although belonging to the 
same race as the Serbs, Oroatians, and Russians who drove them out. The Nogai 
Tatar-, from the Crimea, are more entitled to this name, being really of the same 
stock and speech as their Osmanli rulers. The term is applied also to the officials, 
tin- offspring of Georgian or Circassian women, and more remotely descended from 
all the nations whose captives have for ages peopled the harems. Lastly, amongst 
the O-manli are also grouped the descendants of the Arabs and negroes formerly 
imported by the slave-dealers from every part of Africa. In many Anatolian 
towns a great part of the population shows traces of negro blood, while whole 
villages in the Jebel-Missis, near Adana, are inhabited by blacks. The Kurds, how- 
ever, notwithstanding their common Mohammedan faith, present such a marked 
contrast to the Osmanli in their features and social usages, that to them the term 


Turk is never applied. Like those of the Zagros and Upper Tigris and Euphrates 
basins, they are for the most part evidently of Iranian origin, although amongst 
the Anatolian Kurds the Kizil-bashes are very numerous. 

The Turks, properly so called, that is, the Turkoman section of the community 
which has adopted a settled life and embraced the Mussulman faith, are seen to 
much greater advantage in Anatolia than in European Turkey. They are generally 
of a swarthy complexion, with black hair and eyes, slightly prominent cheek-bones, 
great muscular power, but bad address, a heavy slow gait, rendered more ungainly 
by too ample garments. They lack the grace and activity of the Iranians, but 
thanks to their frugal and temperate habits, they are a remarkably healthy race, 
subject to few maladies. Most of them maybe described as "flat-heads," the 
occiput being compressed by the position of the infant in the cradle. On the 
Asiatic side of the Bosphorus, especially round about Olympus, where they are 
less mixed than elsewhere, the Osmanli still preserve all their natural qualities. 
Here they feel themselves more at home than in Thrace, in the midst of Greek, 
Bulgarian, Albanian, and so many other foreign elements. When uncorrupted by 
the enjoyment of authority, or not debased by oppression, the Turk certainly 
contrasts favourably with most other peoples. His very honesty, truth, and 
uprightness have made him a subject of ridicule and compassion in the eyes of his 
Greek, Syrian, Persian, and Armenian neighbours. Possessing the sentiment of 
solidarity to a high degree, he willingly shares with his comrades, but seldom asks 
in return. Whatever may be said to the contrary, the " bakshish " nuisance is a 
greater evil ill Southern Europe than in the East outside the large towns, where 
the Levantine element prevails. What traveller, however haughty and suspicious, 
has failed to be deeply moved by the hearty welcome always awaiting him in the 
Anatolian Turkish villages? At sight of the traveller, the head of the family 
hastens to help him dismount, receives him with a pleasant smile, spreads the most 
costly carpet in his honour, invites him to rest and refresh himself. Respectful, 
but with the dignity of one who respects himself, he spares the stranger all 
indiscreet questions, and essentially tolerant himself, especially avoids all religious 
discussion. Different in this respect from the disputatious Persian, he is satisfied 
with his own belief, and leaves others to their conscience and their God. 

In the family the Turk is never false to the true spirit of kindness and justice. 
Despite the latitude of the Koran and the example of the pashas, monogamy is the 
rule among the Asiatic Osmanli, and whole cities, such as Phocrea, are mentioned 
in which not a single case of polygamy occurs. No doubt in the rural districts a 
second wife is taken in order to have an extra assistant, while in some manufactur- 
ing towns employers seek to increase the number of hands by this means. Bui 
under all circumstances, the Turks are far more faithful to the marriage ties than 
are some western communities. Absolute mistress in her home, the wife is always 
treated with kindness, and the children, however young, are already considered as 
equals by right. The natural kindliness of the Turks is nearly always extended 
to the domestic animals, and in many districts the asses are still allowed two days 
of rest in the week. 



Although descendants <>f the conquering race, amongst whom arc chiefly 
selected the Government officials, the Turks arc themselves no less oppressed than 
the other nationalities of tho empire, while in the embassies they find no one to 
plead in their favour. The taxes, usually farmed out to Armenians, who have 
become the worst oppressors of the land, weigh heavily on the unfortunate 
< )sinanli, burdened as they are by so many other charges. To passing officials and 

Fig. 111.— Turkish Woman of Brussa. 

troops the villagers are bound to supply all requisites freely, and this enforced 
hospitality often impoverishes them as much as downright plunder itself. 

When the approach of functionaries or military is announced, the inhabitants 
have their dwellings and take refuge in the woods or mountain gorges. The con- 
scription also falls exclusively on the Turks, and l>y a people amongst whom the 
family sentiment is so highly developed, this blood-tax is naturally held in special 
abhorrence. During the period of conquest the Osmanli moved forward in clans 
and families, old and young, wives and sisters, following the warriors to the battle- 
field, conquerors or vanquished all sharing the same Lot. But now the conscription 
carries off the young men not merely for a few months, or four or five year-, as in 
Western Europe, but for a long period., and often for their whole life. The con- 


scripts, mostly married for two or three years, have thus to part from parents, wife, 
and children, and all the family ties become suddenly broken, perhaps for ever. 

"Weakened and threatened in their national existence by the systematic blows 
of this enforced military service, endowed also with the fatal gift of resignation, 
the Turks are exposed to the greatest danger in the vital competition with a race 
possessed of a more enterprising spirit. They cannot contend successfully with the 
Greeks, who by pacific means are avenging themselves for the war of extermina- 
tion of which Cydonia and Chio have preserved the traces. In the struggle the 
Turks are heavily handicapped, being mostly ignorant and artless, and sneaking 
their mother-tongue alone ; whereas the Greeks are clever, full of subterfuge, and 
acquainted with several languages. "Without being lazy, the Turk dislikes hurry. 
" Haste," he says, " is the devil's ; patience is God's." He cannot dispense with 
his kief, a vague dream in which he lives the life of plants, free from the effort to 
think or will. His very excellences tell against him. Honest and faithful to his 
pledged word, he will work to the end of his days in order to discharge a debt, a 
quality of which the money-lender takes advantage to offer him long and ruinous 
credits. " If you wish to succeed," says an Anatolian commercial axiom, " trust 
the Christian to one-tenth, the Mussulman to tenfold his income." Thus trusted, 
the Turk no longer possesses anything he can call his own. All the products of 
his toil are destined for the usurer, into whose hands will successively pass bis 
costly carpets, his crops, his live-stock, his very land. Nearly all the local 
industries except weaving and saddlery have already been monopolised by others. 
Deprived of all share in the seaborne traffic and in the industrial arts, he is being 
gradually driven from the seaboard to the interior, where he lapses to the nomad 
life of his forefathers. If agriculture is still left to him, it is onlv that he may till 
his own land as a hireling. Presently nothing will remain open to him except the 
guidance of caravans or a purely pastoral existence. The Osmanli have been 
almost completely driven from the islands of the Ionian coast, while in the large 
maritime cities, where they were till lately the dominant element, they are now 
reduced to the second rank. In Smyrna itself, the great mart of their peninsular 
empire, they seem rather tolerated than obeyed. Even in certain inland towns 
Hellenic already counterpoise Turkish influences. The movement seems as irresis- 
tible as the surging tides, and the ( Ismanli are themselves as fullv conscious of it as 
are the Greeks. Long since the summons to withdraw from Europe has been issued 
not only against the ruling < Ismanli, but also against the mass of the Turkish nation, 
and we know that the cruel mandate has already been to a great extent realised. 
By hundreds of thousands the emigrants have taken refuge in Anatolia from Greek 
Thessaly, from Macedonia, Thrace, and Bulgaria, and these fugitives arc a mere 
fragment of the victims that have had to quit their paternal homes. The exodus 
continues, and will doubtless cease only when the whole of lower Rumelia shall 
have again become European in speech, habits, and usages. And now the Turks 
are threatened in Asia itself. The ominous cry " To the steppes ! " has been raised, 
and one asks in terror must this mandate also be realised ? Is there no possible 
means of reconciliation between the conflicting elements? Is the unity of civilisa- 


tioii to be had only by the sacrifice of whole populations, and those above all which 
are mosl distinguished bj the highest moral qualities — uprightness, truth, manliness, 
courage, and tolerance ! 

The A\ mih. i w Grei ks. 

The Greeks, those children of oppressed ii«ii >, who already regard themselves as 
the Future masters of the peninsula, are probably to a large extent descendants of 
the Eonians and other maritime Hellenes. Still they cannot on the whole lay 
claim to any greal purity of hlood. The fusion has boon complete between them 
and the various peoples who penetrated into the petty Ionian states, and who later 
mi became Hellenised under Byzantine ^influences. The distinctive mark "I Greek 
nationality as constituted in Asia Minor is neither race nor even speech, l>ut 
religion in its outward forms. The limits of the nation, which may be estimated at 
about one million altogether, coincide with those of the orthodox communities. 
As in the island of Chio and in the Erythrean peninsula, many villages are 
inhabited by Osmanli, descendants of fugitives from the Peloponnesus, and Bpeak- 
ing Greek exclusively. So also a large number of Greek communities usually 
n mverse in Turkish, and even write their ancient Language with Turkish characters. 
Several villages in the Eermus and Cayster valleys have only revived the Greek 
tongue since the establishment of schools. Farther inland also numerous Greek 
populations are met within a few hours of the seaport who know Turkish alone. 
On the other hand there exist Hellenic communities which have scarcely been 
modified for the last two thousand years. Such are the inhabitants of Karpathos, 
Rhodes, of some ether neighbouring islands, and of some valleys on the Cariau 
coast, where the old Dorian idiom has left a large number of words. In the islands 
of the archipelago vestiges survive of customs anterior even to Hellenism itself. 
Thus in the interior of ( 'os and Mitylene the daughters alone inherit from their 
parents, and from them come the oilers of marriage. When the eldest daughter 
has selected her husband, the father gives up his house to the couple. 

At the neck of the peninsula on the Armenian frontier there survive some 
Greek communities which have resisted the influence of their Kurd, Armenian, and 
Osmanli neighbours, and which speak the old Hellenic language full of archaic 
forms that have disappeared from the Greek current on the Ionian seaboard. 
Thus Pharash (Pharaza), perched on a bluff overlooking the Zamantia-su on the 
border of Cappadocia and Cilieia, has preserved its Greek nationality in the midst 
of the surrounding Turkoman population. Proud of their primitive speech, the 
Pharaziots claim I'eloponesian descent, and it may at all events be admitted that 
Hellenic colonists have here become intermingled with the descendants of the 
ancient Cappadocians, who had early adopted Greek civilisation. But unless 
fostered by the Bpread of education, the Greek language must soon disappear from 
the eastern provinces of the peninsula. In some of the former Greek-speaking 
villages, the national songs are now remembered only by the old, and in many 
families the rising generation has ceased to speak the language of Homer. Some 


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communities have even adopted Islam since the beginning of the present century, 
and similar conversions seem to have taken place during the time of the first 
Mohammedan invasions. The Afshars of Cappadocia, differing so greatly from 
those of Persia, are by some ethnologists suspected of being descended from the 
formerly Hellenised aborigines. Although speaking the same language as the 
other Mussulmans, they betray a marked resemblance to the ancient Greeks in their 
habits and customs. Now, however, the decadence of Hellenism in the inland 
villages seems to have reached its extreme limits. Those who have preserved the 
name of Greeks have also preserved the proud consciousness of their real or supposed 
origin, and the recently established direct relations with their western kindred 
will henceforth uphold them in the struggle for independent existence. 

In any case the revival and expansion of the Greek national sentiment along 
the coastlands, has been so rapid that a rough calculation might almost be made 
of the time when the ancient Asiatic Hellas will be recovered as far as the central 
plateaux by the gradual and peaceful substitution of one race for the other. 
Although religion is the outward token of this ethnical movement, proselytism is 
not it chief leverage. The Anatolian Greeks are, in fact, seldom distinguished by 
their religious fervour ; the clergy have but slight influence over them, and except 
in the villages, are rarely consulted on the secular affairs of the community. The 
true bond of union between the scattered Hellenic groups is patriotism. They feel 
their kinship with their brethren wherever settled on the Mediterranean seaboard, 
and apart from conventional political divisions, their eyes are turned rather towards 
Athens than Constantinople. At the same time, they see the fatherland not in any 
given city, but in the rising tide of Hellenism, surging up amidst the islands of the 
archipelago, and advancing along the encircling shores at so many points between 
Alexandria and Odessa. All the Anatolian Hellenes are animated by the " great 
idea," and all understand how it is best to be realised. No other race is more alive 
to the value of education in this respect, and their zeal for the instruction of the 
rising generation rivals that of the Armenians themselves. In every village the 
chief business of life is the schools, in the prosperity of which the wealthy classes 
take the deepest interest. On one point all are agreed, that is, the paramount 
importance of fostering the national sentiment and the pride of race in the young. 
All students are taught ancient Greek, and read the classic writers in whose pages 
are reflected the greatness and the glory that made their forefathers the teachers 
of mankind. All study modern history, and especially the heroic deeds performed 
by their race during the war of independence. Under the passive eye of their 
Turkish rulers, they inspire themselves with the thought of the day when these 
rulers must withdraw, and thus is their political emancipation being slowly and 
peacefully accomplished. To endow and support the schools, rightly regarded as 
the hope of the future, no sacrifice is grudged. Many private persons build colleges 
in their lifetime, while the sacred cause of education is never forgotten in the 
testaments of all patriots. 

Thanks to this general spread of culture, the Greeks have already wrested from 
the Turks many industries and all the liberal professions. In the towns they are 

■292 soi"ni-\vi:sri;i;\ w\. 

the physicians, lawyers, and teachers; and as journalists or interpreters they have 
become the exclusive channel of information for Europeans. To their nationality 
everywhere belong the mosl Bkilful craftsmen, and a single \jmi to their dwellings 
suflin is to show thai they bave not lost the inheritance of perfect rhythm and pro- 
portion bequeathed to them by their ancestors. Despite many centuries of 
barbarism and oppression, they still produce works which might serve as models for 
European artisans. In their houses the woodwork, floors, wainscot ing, and ceilings 
are fitted with a marvellous nicety, while the eye is delighted by the taste displayed 
in the ornamentation and disposition of colours. In the port of Smyrna the boats 
of the humblest oarsman are masterpieces of solid building, graceful outline, and 
happy adjustment of all the gear and rigging. The only fear is, Lest through love 
of change the imitation of western models beguile them from a purer standard, and 
induce them to copy objects of foreign workmanship far inferior to their own. In 
the Anatolian towns most of the Greeks already dress in the European fashion, 
ashamed of the rich and elegant national costume which lends so much grace and 
dignity to the carriage. 

The Osmanli rulers are also threatened by the very ubiquity of the Greek 
element. Seafarer and traveller, as in the days id' Herodotus, the versatile Greek 
is still everywhere to be found, his restless activity rendering him a match for ten 
sedentary Turks, who never quit the natal home except to breathe the purer air of 
the uplands in their summer camping-grounds. Amongst the Asiatic Greeks are 
a large number from Peloponesus, the European mainland and islands, while 
multitudes pass over from Anatolia to reside with their western brethren. Thanks 
to these frequent visits and the consequent family alliances, thanks also to the 
falsification of passports facilitated by the venal Turkish officials, many Ionian 
Greeks find little difficulty in making themselves legally subjects of Greece. 
Supplied with the documents exempting him and his from direct Turkish control, 
he returns to his Asiatic birthplace a proud citizen of the Hellenic State. Thus it 
happens that in Smyrna and the other Anatolian seaports the (J reek consul finds 
himself enjoying jurisdiction over whole communities. In Turkish territory itself 
are in this way developed Hellenic colonies, possessing all the priceless advantages 
of political independence combined with the superiority derived from personal 

Amongsf the Europeans migrating to Asia Minor there arc many who arc con- 
nected by the bond of religion with the Greek world, and who gradually become 
absorbed in it. Such are the Bulgarians and Wallachians, who soon learn the 
Greek language, and who in the second generation mostly adopt Greek habits of 
life. To these are added a number of Cossack fishing communities settled in the 
Kizil-Irmak and Yeshil-Irmak deltas, near Lake Maniyas and on the lower Cayster, 
in the neighbourhood of Ephesus. Like those of the Danube, these ( 'ossacks arc 
"Old Believers," who towards the end of the last century fled hither from the 
persecutions of the Russian Government. 

Hut during the last few decades the stream id* immigration has been swollen 
chiefly by the < Iherkesses, a collective name under which are comprised all refugees 



of Caucasian origin. Fearing to render them too independent in the Pontine or 
Taurus uplands, which would have been more congenial homes for these highlanders, 
the Turkish authorities have grouped them in scattered cantonments, mostly on 
lands taken by enforced purchase from the Turks and Hellenes. Here they 
naturally came to be regarded as intruders and brigands, the more so that they 
kept aloof from the surrounding populations, and found it difficult all at once to 
lay aside their old marauding habits. Thus all combined against them, esjjecially 
in the Greek villages, and in many districts standing feuds, accompanied by much 
bloodshed, have since prevailed amongst these antagonistic elements. When a 
Cherkess strays into hostile territory he disappears suddenly, and no questions are 

Fig. 112. — Inhabitants of Anatolia. 
Scale 1 : 11,000,000. 

L , of breenw 



C, Cossacks. 
Y, Yuruks. 



Ar. Armenians. 
Tk. Turcomans. 


K. Kurds. 
Kz, Kizilbash. 

Ch. Cherkesses. 
Z, Zeibeks. 

Af. Afshars 
Neg, Negroes. 

120 Miles. 

asked. Nevertheless Cherkess communities have already been developed which, 
possessing sufficient land and live-stock, live in peace with their neighbours, and 
gradually adapt themselves to the new environment. Some of the Caucasian settle- 
ments in the upper Meander Valley might serve as models for the surrounding 
Osmanli, such is the care they take in tilling the land and keeping the irrigation 
works in repair. Of all these immigrants the Abkhasians have given least cause of 
complaint to the natives. 

Formerly most of the Anatolian trade was in the hands of foreigners, nearly all 
Catholics of the Latin rite settled in Smyrna and the other seaports, and collec- 
tively known as " Levantines." Before the revival of the Greek nationality they 

294 B01 11 1 -W I.STKKN ASIA. 

were tin- exclusive commercial agents between the Turks and the West of Europe. 
But the increasing activity of the Hellenes, combined with the facilities afforded 
for direct Intercourse l>\ steam navigation, has greatly diminished the influence of 
the Levantines. Settled for several generations in the peninsula, they are mostly a 
mixed race, speaking their several national languages indifferently, but always 
appealing to their consuls, and enjoying exemption from Turkish jurisdiction. 
Amongst them are nearly always chosen the consular agents and the official 
employes of the foreign representative's. Sooner or later they will doubtless 
disappear as a distinct class, and even long before them will also vanish the lingua 
franca, which has been developed by 'he commercial relations of the Levantines 
with the other inhabitants of the seaboard. This jargon, consisting of a few 
hundred words placed side by side without any inflections, was mainly Italian, but 
also comprised some Provencal, Spanish, and French terms, as well as a few local 
Greek and Turkish words connected with trade. But this crude form of speech has 
already almost ceased to exist, having been replaced by an Italian dialect and by 
French. In course of extinction is also the " Spaniol," another Levantine jargon 
introduced by the Jewish refugees from Spain — a barbarous or archaic Spanish 
mixed with a number of Hebrew expressions. Education is gradually substituting 
cultured languages for all these crude forms of speech, and in many parts of 
Anatolia French, often spoken with remarkable purity, has already become the real 
lingua franca <>f trade and social intercourse. 


From the very relief of the land, its inhabitants have necessarily been con- 
centrated along the seaboard. Here are situated the great majority of the towns 
and large villages, and, as in the Iberian peninsula, with which Anatolia presents 
so many points of resemblance, the population diminishes in density towards the 
interior. Nevertheless the central plateaux, like those of Spain, contain a number 
of important places, serving as indispensable stations along the great trade routes 
crossing the peninsula from shore to shore. The water-parting between the Euxine 
and Mediterranean corresponds almost exactly with two distinct stvles of archi- 
tecture. The pitched roofs covered with tiles characteristic of the north are every- 
where succeeded southwards by terraces of beaten earth or shingle, independently 
of the climatic conditions. 

West of Cape Jason, regarded as the eastern limit of the Anatolian Pontine 
coast, the town of JJnieh serves as the outpost of the rich Janik district, whose 
quarries yield fine red and white limestone blocks, besides the jasper of which 
were perhaps made- the vases that Mithridates delighted to show his guests. The 
limestone hills of the interior are covered with a yellow argillaceous clay containing 
ferruginous ores, which are smelted and forged by the natives, possible descendants 
of the ancient f'halybes. The iron, refined with charcoal, is of excellent quality, 
and is bought up by the Turkish Government for use in the arsenals. On the 


same coast are the small ports of Falina, Orht, and Vona-liman, the last of which 
offers the best anchorage along the whole Anatolian seaboard of the Euxine. 

In the rugged upper valley of the Ghcrmili, chief affluent of the Yeshil-Irmak, 
the most important place is Kara-hissar, or " Black Castle," distinguished from so 
many other towns of like name by the special designation of Sheb-Khaneh (Shabanah, 
Shabin), so called from its alum mines. The produce of these works is conveyed 
over the Gumbet-dagh to the port of Kerasun, from which place a carriage-road 
has been traced, but not yet executed, to the quays of Tireboli. In the Ghermili 
Valley is also situated the ancient city of Niksar (Neo-Caesarea), the Cabira of 
Strabo, which lies about 30 miles from the confluence of the two main forks of the 
Iris, 1,600 feet above sea level. 


Tokat, capital of the Upper Iris (Tosanli-su) basin, is one of the greater inland 
cities of Asia Minor, and a chief station on the highway between Constantinople 
and Upper Mesopotamia. Its suburbs and gardens stretch far along the side 
valleys, and 7 miles higher up stand the ruins of the sumptuous Comana ponfica, 
where a Byzantine bridge crosses the Iris. The wretched earth or adobe hovels, of 
which Tokat largely consists, might easily be replaced by marble houses with the 
admirable building material from the neighbouring hills. On one of these stand 
the picturesque ruins of a Byzantine castle, while its sides are pierced by natural 
and artificial caves, which probably served formerly as a necropolis. The busy 
copper foundry of Tokat is supplied with ores from the Koben-Maden mines beyond 
Sivas, and its household utensils of this material are exported to Egypt, Persia, and 
Turkestan. The pears and apples from the surrounding gardens have a finer 
flavour even than those of Angora. 

On the verge of the fertile Kaz-ova plain below Tokat stands the large village 
of Turkhal, commanded by a completely isolated pyramidal rock, which presents a 
curiously striking likeness to an Assyrian temple, and which is still crowned by a 
ruined fortress. On a plain watered by a tributary of the Iris south-west of 
Turkhal lies the town of Zillch, the ancient Zela, whose citadel is also perched on 
an isolated eminence, on which formerly stood a famous temple of the goddess 
Anahit, regarded by the old Persian monarchs as the most sacred shrine of the 
national divinities. The numerous pilgrims at one time attracted to this spot have 
been succeeded by traders from all quarters. Zilleh has thus become one of the 
chief Anatolian market-towns. On the route leading north to Amasia lies the 
battlefield where Caesar overthrew Pharnaces, king of Pontus, an event rendered 
memorable by his laconic description : " I came, I saw, and conquered." 

Amasia, birthplace of Strabo, fills a narrow basin traversed by the Iris, just 
above its confluence with the Tersakan-su. East and west rise the lofty crags that 
shelter the city from the solar rays for several hours in the day. The less 
precipitous east heights are partly laid out in terraces, planted with vineyards and 
studded with houses. Those on the opposite side, at whose base are still visible 


some remnants of the palace of the routine kings, present an almost vertical flank, 






topped by the citadel described by Strabo. The present fortress is almost entirely 
of Byzantine and Turkish erection ; but there still remain two fine Hellenic towers, 



besides galleries cut in the rock and leading to a secret spring in the interior. On 
the face of the bluff are shown five royal tombs, standing out sharply against the 
grey ground of the rock. 

This old metropolis of Pontus has preserved no other remains except a few 
fragments of sculptured marbles used in building the piers of one of its bridges. 
But it boasts of a handsome mosque, fine fountains, quaint bouses, large irrigating 
mills, and streets that may almost be called clean, thanks to the white vultures that 
act as industrious scavengers. There are also some local industries, such as silk- 
carding and cloth-weaving, chiefly carried on by the Greeks and Armenians, who 

Fig. 114. — Amasia. 
Scale 1 : 100,000. 

. 3,300 Yards- 

constitute about one-fourth of the population. Nevertheless Amasia, the " Oxford 
of Anatolia," is a stronghold of Turkish fanaticism, containing some 2,000 
Mohammedan students, who are distributed in eighteen medreseh or colleges, 
supported by revenues derived from lands, houses, and shops. 

Along the lower Iris follow the towns of Chorion, Mersifun (Mersitcan), and at the 
head of the delta Charshamba, a mere group of houses scattered along both banks 
of the muddy stream. Nearly midway between the two deltas of the Iris and 
Kizil-Irmak lies the modern port of Samsun, which has succeeded to the ancient 
Aniasus of the Greeks, rather more than a mile farther north. The present town, 



with its narrow dirty streets, has nothing ti> Bhow except its roadstead, comprised 
between the two vast semicircles of the fluvial alluvia. Since the middle of the 
present century its trade has much improved, especially with Russia, and in 

Fiu'. 1 L5.- Saiisun. 
Scale 1 : 1,760,000. 


16 to 32 

32 to 48 

et and 


4,400 Yards. 

numerous engineering projects Samsun is designated as the future terminus of a 
railway intended to run through Tokat and Sivas to the Mesopotamian plains.* 

Sioas, capital of a large province, lies on the righl hank of the Upper Kizil- 
Irmak, in a gently sloping plain some 4,000 feet above >m level. Notwithstanding 
some waste spaces strewn with rubbish, and debased structures dating from Persian 
• Shipping of Samsun (1880), 310,000 tons. 


times, Sivas is one of the most flourishing places in Central Anatolia, thanks to its 
convenient position at the converging point of the chief caravan routes between the 
Euxine, the Euphrates, and Mediterranean. The Armenians, who constitute a 
fifth of the population, have here several schools, and in the neighbourhood a much 
venerated church and a wealthy monastery. On the south side, near the village of 
Ulash, are some very productive salines worked by the Government. 

Kaisarieh, the ancient Caesarea and capital of Cappadocia, occupies an old 
lacustrine basin, south of the Kizil-Irmak Valley, sheltered from the southern rays 
by the gigantic Argaeus, and traversed by a small affluent of the Red River. 
Nothing now remains of the lake except a swampy tract flooded in winter, when 
the overflow is discharged through the Kara-su, which also receives the drainage 
of Caesarea itself. The ravine through which these waters escape is undoubtedly 
the outlet said by Strabo to have been dammed up in order to convert the plain into 
an inland sea. Of the ancient Caesarea (Mazaca), which lay nearer to Argasus than 
the modern city, nothing survives except a few shapeless piles, while a more recent 
mediaeval town overthrown by earthquakes is now a heap of ruins. The present 
Caesarea, where the Greeks and Armenians form over one-third of the population, 
has lost some of its transit trade since the development of steam navigation along 
the seaboard. The chief place in the district is Evcrek, an exclusively Christian 
town at the southern foot of Argaeus. Many of the surrounding villages are 
inhabited by Greeks, who for the most part now speak nothing but Turkish. 

The main route running from Caesarea westwards to the Bosphorus passes by 
the towns of Infeh-su, Urgub, and Nem Shehr (Nt r Shi hr\ the last of which is one 
of the richest and largest places in the interior. About half of the population are 
Greeks, who have monopolised nearly the whole of the local trade. Urgub and the 
neighbouring village of Uch-hissar, or the " Three Castles," lie in one of the most 
remarkable districts of Asia Minor, famous alike for its natural and archaeological 
curiosities. Here the ground, consisting of a layer of hard stone, rests like a slab 
on strata of tuffa, which are easily eroded by the action of water. The surface 
itself has in course of ages been weathered by sun, winds, and rains into a network 
of ravines, fissures, and barrancas. Some of the hills thus carved out of the tuffa 
have preserved their capitals of hard stone, like the argillaceous obelisks met in 
some of the valleys of erosion in the Alps. Others, rising to heights of from 30 to 
300 feet, have lost their terminal block, and present the appearance of a vast 
encampment covered with thousands of tents. Most of these grey or reddish cones, 
encircled at their base with a zone of verdure, are pierced by openings giving 
access to interior recesses, the habitations of men, pigeons, or the dead. Some of 
the caves are simple square or round excavations, while others are approached by 
sculptured vestibules or colonnades, and decorated with paintings. Whole com- 
munities might be accommodated in these crypts, which were excavated in pre- 
historic times, and undoubtedly inhabited by the aborigines of the country. 

At the point where the Kizil-Irmak sweeps round from the north to the south- 
east, the town of Kalejik, standing on the left bank, commands the route here 
crossing the river from Angora through Yuzgat to Sivas. Yuzgat, which lies almost 



in the geometrical centre of the greal curve of the Kizil-Irmak. between Sivaa and 
the Euxine, is of modern origin, dating only from tin- middle of the eighteenth 
century. It stands at an altitude of 5,950 feet, and would scarcely be inhabited in 
the cold season had it no! been chosen as the civil and military centre of a large 

This region was undoubtedly at one time more thickly peopled than at present, 
for it contains the ruins of uumerous cities which appear to have been very 
flourishing, and which were adorned with sumptuous monuments. Some 24 miles 
north-weal of Yuzgat, and near the village of Boghaz-Koi, are Been the ruins of a 
vast temple. The surrounding rocks arc covered with bas-relit Is, representing 
solemn processions; and according to Tericr, the city that occupied this site was the 
Pteria, destroyed by Croesus over two thousand four hundred years ago ; while 

Kg. 116.— SlNOPE. 
Scale 1 : 450,000. 

~_ -^^ -- sss;^gj=ifig 






I 4 





iCvren- * »f 



to M 

80 Feet and upwards. 
C Miles. 

Hamilton identifies it with the Tavium, which Strabo describes as having at one 
time been a very commercial place. Xo less remarkable arc the ruins of Oyuk, 
lying 24 miles farther north near the pyramidal trachytic rock of Kara-hissar. 
Here the old palace gateway is guarded by two gigantic animals, with the heads of 
women, body and feet of lions, and in style resembling the Egyptian sphinxes. 
Other sculptures, amongst which the two-headed eagle, revived by some modern 
empires, recall the hunting scenes and battle-pieces figured on the Persian and 
Assyrian monuments. 

Changri, and Iskr/ih, lying in fertile river valleys tributary to the Kizil-Irmak, 
are considerable places ; but the middle and lower courses of the main stream are 
almost destitute of towns. One of the most important is Osmanjik, standing on the 


right bank at the head of an old stone bridge with fifteen arches, crossed by the 
direct route between Constantinople and Amasia. Lower down follow the 
manufacturing town of Kastamuni, one of the chief stations on the road from 
Constantinople to Samsun, I'ash-Kopri, or " Stone Bridge," which has replaced the 
ancient Pompeiopolis, Vizir-k'dpri, lying in a valley, and Bafra, the chief mart of the 
delta. The tobacco grown in this moist and fertile region is shipped for Constan- 
tinople at the little port of Kwnjaz or Kumjiugaz on the east side of the delta. 

The ancient Assyrian city of Sinope, colonised twenty-seven centuries ago by 
the Milesians, lies near the northernmost headland of Anatolia, on an almost insular 
limestone rock covered here and there with trachytes and volcanic tuffas. The 
absence of communications with the interior almost severs it from the mainland, so 
that it may be regarded as a sort of island, owing its importance entirely to its 
■maritime advantages. A narrow sandy isthmus connects the hilly peninsula with 
the mainland, and the cliffs overlooking this neck of land afford an attractive view 
of Sinope with its two roadsteads and surrounding district. But except a few 
fragments of sculptures and inscriptions built into its Byzantine walls, Sinope has 
preserved no remains of the monuments erected here when it was a free Greek city, 
birthplace of Diogenes the Cynic, or later on in the time of Mithridates, who was 
also a native of this place. Although unsheltered by any pier or breakwater, the 
southern and more frequented harbour affords perfectly safe anchorage even 
against the dangerous west winds. The Turkish Government has rebuilt the 
arsenal and dock destroyed when the squadron at anchor in the harbour was burnt 
by the Russians at the beginning of the Crimean war in 1853. The local trade is 
limited to the export of wood and fruits.* 

"West of Cape Syrias (Injeh-burnu), western limit of the olive, as already 
remarked by Xenophon, the rocky headlands enclose a few small havens, such as 
the old Greek colony of Ineboli, Sesamyus, Amastris (Amasra\ where are still 
visible the remains of a hanging garden supported on nineteen colossal arches ; 
Bartan, also of Greek origin, lying over 2 miles inland on the ancient Parthenius, 
navigable to this point by vessels drawing 7 feet. The Filias (Billaeus), a more 
copious stream than that of Bartan, but obstructed by a bar at its mouth, waters 
the gardens of the two important towns of East and West Bolt. The former, 
specially known as Zafaran-Boli, from the saffron here largely cultivated and 
exported chiefly to Syria and Egypt, lies in a large and fertile basin traversed by 
the Sughanli-su, an affluent of the Filias. The latter, the ancient Bithynium, 
stands at an altitude of 2,8G0 feet amidst the hills crossed by the route from Erekli 
to Angora. It is commanded by a ruined citadel perched on a lofty bluff, whence 
stretch southwards the long wooded ridges of the Ala-dagh, or Galatian Olympus. 
On the western headland, overlooking the mouth of the Filias, are scattered the 
ruins of the city of Tium, the " Pearl of the Kuxine," whose ivy-clad walls and 
gates, amphitheatres, temples, tombs, and aqueducts, now lie half buried amid the 
foliage of forest trees. 

• Shipping of Sinope (1880), 113,000 tons. 



Heraclea, Ancyra, Scutari, Brussa. 

Erekli, the ancient Heraclea, or "Port of Eercules," although much decayed, is 
still one lit' tin' must charming towns oil the coast. Lying at the issue of a verdant 
glen mi a rink sheltered by a headland from the north wind, it is enclosed by old 
walls hidden here and there by clumps of trees, and encircled by beech-clad hills 
stretching away beyond the horizon. Erekli Beems destined to become one of the 
chief ports on the Euxine, as soon as the resources of the country shall be properly 
developed. The neighbouring coalfields, feebly worked since the Crimean war, 

Fig. 117. EllEKLI. 

Scale 1 : 12,600. 

[•. ofG 



16 to 32 

82 to 64 

64 Feet and 

. 8 Miles. 

stretch east and west for a distance of at least 70 or 80 miles, with a mean breadth 
of 6 miles, and contain beds 12 or 14 feet thick. A few remains of the ancient 
Heraclea still survive within the modern enclosure, and amid the rocks of the 
northern headland is shown the cave of Acherousia, where Hercules descended to 
shackle Cerberus and vanquish death. In the hilly and wooded district stretching 
southwards to the Ala-dagh lies the town of Vskub, the ancient Prusa (Prusias ad 
// ium i, where may be seen the remains of a Greek threatre, and some long and 
curious incriptions. 

AJi-serai, or the " White Palace," capital of the almost desert region of which the 
Great Salt Lake occupies the chief depression, is inhabited exclusively by Turks, 



and produces little except the saltpetre collected under the walls after the rains. 
Towards the south the spurs of the Hassan-dagh are covered with the remains of 
cyclopean structures, citadels, torahs, and temples, dating from the times anterior 
to the Macedonian conquest. Viran-shehr, the "Deserted City," is supposed by 
Hamilton to be the Nazianzum known in ecclesiastical history as the birthplace of 
Saint Gregory. 

The lacustrine basin enclosed by the Emir-dagh and Sultan-dagh is much more 
thickly peopled than the saline Lycaonian steppes, and here are found the impor- 

Fiir. lis. — Remains of the Temple of Augustus an-p Rome at Anctiia. 

tant towns of Ilgun, Akshehr, Bulvadin, Afium-kara-hissar, the last named a large 
and industrious place'producing morocco-leather, carpets, and woollen fabrics. It 
is one of the chief stations on the route from the liosphorus to Syria, and is 
probably destined to form the junction of the 1 wo lines from Constantinople and 
Smyrna on the future railway to India. Beyond the northern hills lies the ancient 
EaH-kara-himar, which contains some of the finest sculptured marbles in Asia 
Minor, tombs, baths, and columns, the materials for which were supplied from the 
neighbouring quarries. 


The region about the bead waters of the Sakaria abounds in ruins, but is now 
but thinly peopled. The debris strewn over an extensive plain at Hergan-kaleh 
are Bupposi d bj Hamilton to mark the site of Amorium, while in the broken Bhafts 
and friezes a1 Bala-hwar Texier recognises the remains of Peasintu, where the 
Gauls (Galatians) erected a temple to Cybele. The old Greek and Galatian cities 
have been succeeded bj Sevri-hiasar, which stands nearly 3,500 Eeel above the 
sea, at the south foot of a precipitous granite crag sheltering ii from the northern 

The Knguri-su, oreastern braneh of the Sakaria, waters the plains of the famous 
Engurieh or Angora, the ancient Galatian capital, which became the chief centre 
of western civilisation in the interior of Anatolia. The modern town is an unin- 
teresting place standing on a plateau over 3,000 feel above sea Level, which is 
here intersected by low monotonous hills. Bui Angora, the Ancyra of the Greeks 
and Romans, contains the remains of a fine temple dedicated to Augustus and 
Rome, now enclosed within the precincts of the Ilaji Beirami mosque. Sere is to 
be seen the precious "Ancyra .Monument," a bilingual inscription in which 
iistus in his seventy-sixth year relates his great deeds, his conquests, and the 
buildings erected by him. The Latin text and Greek translation of this important 
historical document were not critically determined till L861. The walls and gates 
of Angora arc to a large extent constructed with the fragments of Roman edifices, 
temples, colonnades, and amphitheatres. A lion in good style is embedded in a 
Turkish fountain near the modern gates, and in a .^orge one day's march towards 
the south-west MM. Perrot and Guillaime have discovered a llittite monument, 
representing two large figures wearing tiaras and pointing with the right hand 
towards the west. Above these sculptures rise the cyclopean walls of a fortress 
locally known as the Oiaur-kaleh, or " the infidels' Castle." 

About a third of the population of Angoraare Roman Catholic Armenians, who 
have forgotten their mother-tongue and speak Turkish exclusively. They are 
distinguished from those of Constantinople by a more lively temperament and less 
reserve towards strangers. The type also is less swarthy and coarse, many being 
characterised by light hair, blue eyes, oval faces, and a European physiognomy, 
whence Perrot's suggestion that they may possibly be a mixed race, partly 
descended from the old Galatian conquerors. Even the Galatian Mohammedans, 
the mildest and most genial in Anatolia, would seem to have a dash of Gaulish 

hi 1 in their reins, although at least eighteen centuries have passed since the 

complete fusion of the Keltic element in the Anatolian population. The statement 
of Saint Jerome is often repeated that in his time — that is, in the fourth century of 
the new era — the language current in Ancyra was the same as that of the people of 
Treves on the Rhine. But for three centuries (J reek had already superseded 
Galatian names, a sufficient proof that the Gaulish idiom had disappeared at this 
epoch. In (talatia no Kiltie inscriptions or monuments have ever been found in 
any way recalling the remote western home of the invaders. During the last 
century the trade of Angora was chiedy in the hands of English, French, and 
Dutch merchants; but it is now monopolised by Greek immigrants from Kaisarieh, 

7' lifc, 




















who buy up for the English market the delicate fleece of the Angora goats. Thev 
also forward other local produce, especially wax, and the yellow Chekeri berry 
[rhamnus alaternusX which yields a beautiful green dye. 

On the Upper Pursak (Pursadu), western branch of the Sakaria, the chief 
place is Kiutayeh, which rivals Angora in size, while enjoying greater commercial 
advantages through its proximity to Brussa and Constantinople, and to its position 
on the main route across Anatolia. Lying 3,100 feet above the sea, on a fertile 
plain, apparently the bed of an old lake, Kiutayeh is commanded by one of the best- 
preserved Byzantine fortresses in Asia Minor. No other remains have survived of 
the ancient Cotyceum, a name preserved under the modern Turkish form of Kiutayeh. 

Eski Shehr, or the " Old Town," the old borykeum, is frequently mentioned in 
the carl} r Turkish records, and here a great victory was gained by the Crusaders 
under Godfrey de Bouillon. It has some frequented mineral waters, but its chief 
importance is due to the deposits of meerschaum in the district, of which valuable 
commodity it has hitherto enjoyed a monopoly. It is forwarded to Paris, New 
York, San Francisco, but chiefly to Yienna, for the manufacture of pipes and cigar- 
holders. The beds, which are worked mainly by Persian miners, have already 
betrayed symptoms of exhaustion, although the yearly export has steadily increased 
from 3,000 chests in 1850, to 11,000, valued at £160,000 to £200,000, in 1881. 

In the lower Sakaria basin the chief places are Ayash and Bci-bazar, noted for 
their pears; Nalli-khan ; Mudurlu (ModseniX commanding the route from Eski 
Shehr to Boli over the Ala-dagh ; Sogul (Shugshai), which contains the tomb of 
Ottoman, founder of the Othman empire ; Iiilehjik ; Lefkeh, the ancient Leucw, at 
the junction of the Gbk-su and Sakaria ; Ada -bazar, a flourishing place near the 
rivulet through which Lake Sabanja discharges to the Sakaria. The magnificent 
bridge, 890 feet long, here thrown across the old channel of the Sakaria, is still in a 
perfect state of preservation. But the stream having shifted its course, it now 
crosses nothing but swampy ground, which has been so raised by alluvial deposits 
that the spring of the arches is completely concealed. The fruit-growing district 
of Sabanja yielded in 1880 over 6,250,000 lbs. of apples and pears for the Con- 
stantinople market. 

The towns and villages on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus are mere suburbs 
of the Turkish capital. The peninsula at the extremity of which it stands belongs 
geologically to Asia, for its consists of the same formations, the promontories and 
inlets along the coast corresponding exactly on both sides of the strait. The true 
geological limit is indicated some 18 miles to the west of the Bosphorus, where 
the Devonian rocks of the Anatolian system develop a line of cliffs above the 
more recent Tertiary and Quaternary formations. But from the historic standpoint 
the possessions of both shores of the Bosphorus belongs to Europe, at hast since 
the foundation of Byzantium. The fortifications, harbours, mosques, cemeteries, 
promenades, fishing hamlets, summer retreats, and even the very towns are mere 
dependencies of the neighbouring metropolis. At the Black Sea entrance of the 
Bosphorus the Anatolian lighthouse corresponds to the Bumeli on the opposite side, 
and hostile Russian fleets attempting to force the passage would be exposed to the 



cross fire of EnropeaD and Asiatic batteries. The narrowest parts <>f the strait are 
guarded by the two Genoese towers of Anadoli-kavak, and Rumeli-kavak, while 
the pleasant towns of Buyuk-dereh and Therapia, with their marble palaces, plan- 

Pig. 119. — AOIATII Si hi iir.v 01 CoNBTANTXKOFLB. 

S. ile 1 : 78.000. 


to 64 Feet. 64 to 160 Feet. 160 to 320 Feet. 320 and upward*. 
.1,300 Yards. 

tain-groves, and shady gardens are reflected on the oast side by the white colon- 
nades, cupolas, minarets and verdant glens of Beikos, Injir-hoi, Chibuklu, and other 
Asiatic villages. The centre of the passage, guarded on the west by the strong 












towers of Rumeli-hissar, built by Mahomet II., is defended at the opposite point by 
those of Anudoli-hissar, dating from the same conqueror. 


Just south of the Anatolian Castle, the valley of the " Sweet Waters " marks 



the limits of the Asiatic suburbs of Constantinople— iTanrfi//, Vani-koi, Kuleli, 
Chengel-koi, Beiler-bey, Istacros, Kuz-gury'uk, and Scutari (Uskudar), which stretch 
about 6 miles in a continuous line along the eaaf Bide of the Bosphorus. They 
jointly contaiD upwards of ten thousand inhabitants, grouped in Turkish, < rreek, and 
Armenian quarters according t<> their several nationalities. More than half of the 
whole number are concentrated in Scutari, which lies over against the Golden Horn, 
and here the Turkish element greatly prevails. Unmindful of the Ghrei h origin of 
the ancient Chrytopolis, the Osmanli have come to look on Scutari as a holy city. 
For them it is the extreme promontory of the fatherland, and when driven from 
Stambul, hither must they withdraw, say their prophets. On the brow of the hill 

Fig. 121. — Environs op Scutari — Turkish Ladies Abroad. 

m0y- - 

in the background stand the groat cypress trees overshadowing perhaps some 
millions of their dead, their dust mingling with that of other millions of Byzantines, 
Thracians, and still earlier settlers. Hitherto the Ottoman town has been little 
modified by European innovations. Many quarters have preserved their original 
character; the fountains with their arabesque carvings, the sculptured tombstones, 
the two-storied wooden houses with their projecting gables, the steep winding 
streets and shady plantains, remain unchanged. From Mount Bulgurlu, overlooking 
the town, a superb panorama is commanded of Constantinople, the Bosphorus, and 

South-east of Scutari the line of suburbs is continued hy huge barracks and 


A— SOU 1 



cemeteries as far as the headland of Kadi-koi, the ancient Ghalcedonia. Here has 
already begun the European invasion that is gradually changing the aspect of the 
place. The resident population is chiefly Greek, with a few hundred merchants, 
mostly English, from Constantinople. On the plain separating Kadi-koi from the 
great cemetery of Scutari were formerly assembled the armies of the padishahs 
for their Asiatic expeditions. Here, close to the " largest barracks in the world," 
now stands the Haidar Pasha terminus of the railway which skirts the north side 
of the Gulf of Ismid, and which is destined one day to be continued through Syria 
and Babylonia to India. It touches at the little ports of Mal-tepeh, Kortal, Pendik, 
and reaches Ghabize {Ghybiasa,\ where Hannibal died, and where a hillock shaded 
by three cypresses is said to preserve the ashes of the great captain. 

Ismid ylskimid^, the ancient Nicomedia, "built by a son of Neptune," and 

Fig. 122.— Ismid. 
Scale 1 : 



L . of Greenwich 

29 'IS' 

to 32 Feet. 

32 to 80 Feet. 80 and upwards 
^— _ 3,300 Yards. 

which Diocletian wished to make the imperial capital, is admirably situated at the 
extremity of the gulf of like name on the advanced spurs of a lofty hill facing 
southwards. The town, with its docks and harbour, is commanded by a modern 
imperial kiosk and a fine old Greek acropolis flanked with Roman and Byzantine 
towers. Nicomedia may be regarded geographically as the real port of the Sakaria 
River, from which it is separated only by a low eminence west of Lake Sabanja, 
But notwithstanding its convenient position at the converging point of all the inland 
routes, its trade is limited to the exportation of some wood and corn. 

An analogous position is occupied by Ghcmlik, at the eastern extremity of a 
gulf which penetrates far inland, and communicates with the Sakaria Valley by the 
depression of the lake of Nirwa. The latter place, now called Isnik, is reduced to 
a wretched village, lost within its double Roman enclosure, and almost completely 



deserted during the unhealthy season. Yet from a distance Nioaea, "City of 
Victory," residence of the Bithynian kings and birthplace of Bipparchus, Btill 
liidks like a large metropolis, so well preserved are its lofty trails and massive 
flanking towers. But within the ramparts all is desolation. Scarcely a vestige 

Fig. 123. I 

Srulo 1 : 330,000. 

to »a 

32 to a I I eel 

si) and ppwaidfl 
- 6 Miles. 

remains of its Roman monuments; the very mosques arc in ruins, and the only 
noteworthy object is a small (ireek church containing a coarse painting of the 
Nicaean Council, which in 325 embodied in its " Creed " nearly all the articles of 
faith comprised in the " Symbol of the Apostles." Nicsea was also a famous place 
during the Crusades. In 1096 the Christian army lost ^0,000 men in the neigh- 







bouring defiles, and the next year took the town by means of a flotilla transported 
overland to the Lake of Isnik. 

Brussa, capital of the vilayet of Hudavendighiar, is one of the great as well as 
one of the most picturesque cities of Anatolia. Divided into several distinct 
quarters, separated from each other by shady glens and running waters, its red- 
roofed houses, gilded domes, and white minarets present a charming picture, seen 
from the fertile plain of the TJlfer-chai. Immediately above the city rise the 
densely wooded slopes of Olympus, which is girdled with successive zones of the 
chestnut, walnut, hornbeam, oak, and various species of conifers. Brussa, which 
retains in a slightly modified form the name of Pntsium given to it by its founder, 
Prusias, king of Bithynia, preserves no remains of the Roman epoch. But 
notwithstanding the frequent earthquakes by which its buildings have been 
shattered, it still retains some precious monuments of the time when it was the 
capital of the Ottoman empire. Here Orkhan the " Victorious" received the title 
of padishah of the Osmanli, who had captured it in 1328, and here the Ottoman 
Turks first felt the consciousness of the strength, which made them a great power 
in the world. But after succeeding Teni-aher as residence of the sultans, it was in 
its turn replaced first by Adrianople and finally by Constantinople as the imperial 
capital. Nevertheless it still remains a venerated city, where the faithful come to 
worship at the shrines of Osman, Mahomet II., and the other early sovereigns of 
the empire. Amongst its " three hundred and sixty-five " mosques, several are 
noted for the richness and beauty of their enamelled porcelains, and one of them, 
the Yeshil Jami, or " Green Mosque," has been restored by a French artist in the 
original style of Persian art. Brussa is the centre of a considerable trade, and has 
some flourishing industries, especially flour-mills and sericulture. But since 1865 
the silkworms have suffered so much from parasites that the production of the raw 
material in the province of Hudavendighiar has been diminished by two-thirds, and 
the mean annual value of the crop has fallen from £1,250,000, and even 
£2,000,000, to £400,000. The forty-five spinning-mills now work almost exclu- 
sively for the Lyons market, and the foreign commercial relations of Brussa are 
carried on solely with France, through Armenian, Greek, and Turkish houses. 

The permanent European colony at Brussa is temporarily increased in May and 
September by visitors to the medicinal waters of Chekirjeli, which are very copious 
and present a great variety of composition, with temperatures ranging from 92° to 
208° F. During the summer heats the wealthy classes and visitors retire to the 
villas scattered over the slopes of Olympus, or else resort to Mudania, Arnaul-koi, 
and other marine watering-places. Mudania, the chief outport of Brussa, has an 
open roadstead, exposed especially to the north-east gales, when the shipping takes 
refuge in the port of Ghemlik. Since 1875 Brussa has been connected with 
Mudania by a railway 25 miles long, but which has never yet been opened to the 
public. The rusty locomotives, rails and sleepers carried off by the peasantry, 
roadway ploughed up by the rains, are emblematic of the solicitude displayed by 
the Turkish authorities for the public weal. 

In the fertile valley of the Susurlu-ehai. which yields rich crops of opium, 



hemp, and tobacco, there are several nourishing places, Buoh as Simau, near the 
ancient Ancyra of Phrygia; Bogadieh (Bogaditsa): Baliketri (Balak-hissar), amach.- 
rrequented market -town ; Mualich, at the junction of the Susurlu with the 
emissaries from Lakes ManyasandAbulhon; ^4po//onta (Abullion) a fishing town on 

an island in the lake cil' like name. 

Little now remains of the sumptuous city of Cyzicus, which occupied an 
admirable position mi the smith sideof a hilly island now transformed, to a peninsula, 
with two sheltered harbours Facing the Hellespont and the Bosphorus. The .strait 
has been completely filled up, and the two bridges which in Strabo's time connected 

Rg>. 124. — ToiIB ov Mahomet II. in the Gu;:en Mosque at BuussA. 

the island with the mainland, have given place to an isthmus ahout 1,200 yards 
broad. At present the eastern port has been replaced by that of Pandermos 
(Panormos), a small Turkish, Greek, and Armenian town regularly visited by the 
steamers from Constantinople. The western port has linn succeeded by Edeh, the 
ancient Artake, which is surrounded by vineyards yielding the best wines in 
Anatolia. Facing it on the mainland stands the large village of Aidinjik, where 
are seen numerous inscriptions found amongst the ruins of Cyzicus. In the 
neighbourhood are the marble quarries whence came the material used in facing 
the granite buildings of the city. 



Troy, Pergamus, Sardes, Smyrna. 

On the mainland .stretching west of the Gulf of Erdek and of the Marmora 
islets, the only important place is Bigha, which lies some 12 miles inland, at the 
point where the Koja-chai (Grauicus) escapes from the hills, and where Alexander 
gained his decisive victory over the Persians. Nor is the Asiatic side of the 
Hellespont much more densely peopled. Here Lamsdki, the ancient Lampsacus, 
whither Themistocles withdrew when exiled from Athens, is now a mere hamlet 
buried amid the surrounding olive-groves and vineyards. Of Abydos the very 
ruins have disappeared, or have been replaced by the barracks and batteries 

Fig. 125.— Syzicus akd Aktaki Peninsula. 
Scale 1 : 400,000. 

r.ofG'-e-" e7°4o 

to 80 Feet. 

SO to 160 Feet. 1C0 and upwards. 
G Miles. 

defending the entrance of the strait. The Castle of the Dardanelles, central point 
of all these fortifications, stands on the southern side at the mouth of the Chinarlik, 
the ancient, Rodius. Kaleh-Sultanieli, as the Castle of the Dardanelles is officially 
called, may be regarded as the port of entry of Constantinople, where all vessels 
are obliged to east anchor before passing on to the capital This place also takes 
the name of Chanak-Kalesii, Or " Castle of the Potteries," from the local glazed 
earthenware, noted for its eccentric forms. The surrounding hills abound in 
metalliferous deposits, of which the Government has mostly retained the monopoly. 
On a headland south of Kaleh-Sultanieh are seen the regular lines of the 
acropolis of the ancient Dardamis, whose broken marbles strew the surrounding 



slopes. Farther on the large Greek village of Eten-koi (Itghelmez), perched on a 
terrace planted with walnut and oak-trees, affords ;i distant view of the Trojan plain 
and conic mounds crowning the surrounding hills. The valley and a rivulet supposed 
by Sohliemann to be the Simois, separates tin- Eren-koi heights from a chain of 
hills, the last of which, overlooking the marshy plain of the Mendereh, is the 
famous terrace of Hiasarlik, or the "Fortalice," identified hy most archaeologists 

Fig. 126.— Tub Tboad. 
Scale 1 : 160,000. 

V^-^A 1 

Oto 1''" Feet 

160 and upwards. 
8 Miles. 

with New Won. Contrary to the opinion of Strabo, Schliemann regards it as the 
Homeric Dion. Hence the natural tendency shown by the illustrious explorer to 
exaggerate the value of the discoveries which have resulted from the enormous 
labour undergone by him on this spot. 

Here the solid rock is covered with remains disposed in regular layers, which 
date apparently from six different epochs, and which have a total thickness of 
52 feet. Below the upper layer, belonging to the historic Greek period, a very 


thin stratum containing vases of Lydian origin is followed by two strata, where 
the houses, of mean appearance, had been built of small stones joined together with 
mud, and plastered inside with clay. Beneath these is supposed to lie the Troy of 
the Iliad, a burnt city whose ashes contained a thousand objects attesting the 
Hellenic origin of the Trojans and their special worship of Athene. Lastly comes 
the lowest stratum, indicating the settlement of a people anterior even to legend. 
Judging from the form of the objects found in the ruins, the burning of Troy took 
place some thirty-six centuries ago, during the pure copper age, when the deities 
were represented with animal faces. Nevertheless the Hissarlik terrace, about 
200 acres in extent, is much too confined to have ever afforded space for a large 
and strongly fortified city. It is also destitute of water beyond a little moisture 
oozing out at the foot of the cliff in rainy weather. According to Lechevalicr and 
Forchhammer, the site of the ancient Ilion is to be sought rather on the Bunarbachi 
hill, south of the alluvial plain, which is strewn with shattered blocks, and which 
commands the west bank of the Mendereh with impregnable escarpments 330 feet 
high. The hovels of the present Bunarbachi stand on the north side, which slopes 
gently down to the plain, and at the foot of the cliff lie the " forty springs," which 
are collected in two rivulets flowing to a common channel regarded by Lechevalier as 
the true Scamander of the Iliad. Here no extensive excavations have yet been 
made, and the remains of buildings hitherto discovered do not belong to the proto- 
Hellenic period. 

There exists a third Troy, built by Alexander the Great, on a headland of the 
jUgean facing the grey cliffs of Tenedos. This place w T as also long regarded as the 
residence of Priam, and its present name of Eski-Stambul, or Old Constantinople, 
illustrates the delusion which everywhere in this district conjured up a great city 
dating from the dawn of history. Alexandria Troas certainly presents some impos- 
ing ruins, fragments of ramparts, remains of baths, palaces, temples, and aqueducts. 
The quarries of a neighbouring granite hill contain columns resembling those 
brought to light at Bunarbachi and Hissarlik, and in one of them is a monolith over 36 
feet in length. At present the inhabitants of the Troad are concentrated chiefly at 
the very extremity of the continent, in the isolated space limited on one side by the 
Mendereh, on the other by the Besika channel. Here the southern cliff is crowned 
by the large Greek village of Nco-k/wri {Yati-koi), while on the north side the 
ancient Sigceum has been succeeded by Yenishehr, or " New Town," at the 
extremity of the cliffs. Still farther north the low point separating the mouth of 
the Mendereh from the ^gean is occupied by the fortress and small town of Kitin- 
kaleh. The whole plain is covered with extensive cemeteries and sepulchral mounds, 
which with some trachyte cones help to break the monotony of the uniform slopes 
and crests. The mounds traditionally associated with the names of Achilles, 
Patroclus, Antilochus, Ajax and Hector, have probably no connection with these 
Homeric heroes, for the objects extracted from them date only from the Mace- 
donian and imperial times. Ujek-tepe, the highest of the artifical eminences 
standing on the plateau on the east side of Besika Bay, was formerly consecrated 
to the Prophet Elias, and was annually visited by Greek pilgrims from the surround- 


solTll-WKSTKKX VS] \ 

ing districts. Bui since the ground has been desecrated by Schliemann's excava- 
tions, the religious Feasts nave been discontinued, and the devotees have ceased to 
\i-ii the spot. 

Baba-kaleh, at the Bouth-western extremity of the Troad, rises in picturesque 
terraces along lie' steep slope of the headland. A little Farther easl stands the 
ancient town id' Assns, described by Leake as tin- perfect ideal of a Greek city, 
when speaking of the amphitheatre of its well preserved trachyte walls. Edremid 
{Adratnytti}, On the alluvial plain skirted northwards by the spurs of Mount Ida, is 
still a populous place, although its harbour has been completely choked by the 
alluvia of the torrents converging from all parts towards the neighbouring bay. 
On this coast the chief trading place is Cydonia, the Aivali of the Turks, which 

Pig. 1 J 7. IIlss.uu.IK (IlION) — VlBW TAKEN FlltlM Till: MsNDBBBB. 

stands on a bay separated by the archipelago of the " Hundred Isles" from the 
Gulf of Edremid, and connected through its harbour with the isolated town of 
Mosl;liinisi,i. After its destruction by the Turks in LS'21 this place long remained 
unoccupied ; but it has been rebuilt by other Greek settlers, and is once more 
distinguished for its enterprise and commercial activity. Nowhere else in Asia 
Minor is the contrast more striking between the two rival races. Some 9 miles 
south-east of Aivali recently stood the Turkish town of Ayftsnwt, whose inhabitants 
massacred their Aivaliol neighbours in L821, and usurped their vineyards and 
olive-groves. Now Ayasmal is reduced to about twenty wretched hovels on the 
edge of a vast necropolis, while the Greeks of Aivali have increased threefold, and 
repurchased their old landed property. The harbour having silted up, they have 



excavated a channel over 12 feet deep, affording access to the vessels which here 
take in cargoes of oil, wine, and grapes. 

' r i 

Mytilini, which carries on a large trade with Aivali and the other ports on the 



mainland, lies on the «v-i side of Mvtilini, or Lesbos, il»<' famous island thai pave 
birth i" Sappho, Alcaeus, Terpander, Arion. The town is pleasantly situated under 
tin- shelter ol a low bill crowned with irregular medieval Fortifications, which .seem 

to have been constructed rather with a view to effect, so artistically disposed are 
the walls and ramparts amid the surrounding vegetation. The delicately tinted 

houses rise in a series of terraces alone; the slope, and are succeeded higher up by 

extensive olive-groves. In Mvtilini, till recently called Castro, from its castle, arc 
Concentrated over a third ol' the inhabitants of Lesbos, nearly all Greeks, noted for 
their commercial enterprise. The harbour is unfortunately accessible only to light 

Fig. 129. Peroami s. 

S. iilc 1 : 30,001). 

L . o*f G'eemvek 



1,100 Miles. 

craft, and although Lesbos possesses the two really fine havens of Kalloni and the 
Olives, these lie oif the main highway of vessels plying between the tiulfs of 
Smyrna and Edremid. Besides a Roman aqueduct at Mvtilini, the remains of 
temples and citadels are scattered over various parts of the island. 

In the fertile valley of the Bakir (G'aicus), the chief places are Kirkagach, in a 
district which grows the best cotton in Anatolia; Soma, a centre of the corn trade, 
and Bergama, the ancient Pergamus, on the Boklujeh (Selinus), formerly one of 
the great cities of Asiatic Greece. Built in prehistoric times by the mythical 
Pergamus, son of Andromache, it became in the Macedonian era the capital of a 
kingdom, which the dynasty of Attains bequeathed to the Romans. From this 


period date the temple known as the " Basilica," and the remains of many other 
fine monuments. Over 1,000 feet above the plain rises the steep hill crowned by 
the acropolis, north-east of which a stadium, a theatre, and an amphitheatre mark 
the site of the Ask/epeion, a watering-place famous in the Greek world for its 
salubrious air and its copious thermal springs. Pergamus also boasts of prehistoric 
monuments, galleries cut in the live rock, and four tombs, one of which is supposed 
to mark the grave of the founder of the city, and his mother, Andromache. 

Until 1878 Pergamus had yielded but few antiquities of much importance. 
But since then, the German Government having obtained permission from the 
Porte to make a complete exploration of the acropolis, the upper terrace has been 
subjected to a thorough survey under the direction of Conze and other archaeologists. 
About half of the ground, covering a space of 20 acres, has been carefully examined, 
and the plan of the buildings crowning the hill is henceforth clearly determined. 
On the south stood an altar over 130 feet on all sides, surrounded by colonnades ; 
towards the centre of the acropolis the temple of Minerva Polias rose above the 
edge of the western escarpment, and several other structures were grouped round 
this sanctuary of the tutelar deity of the city. Farther on, at the culminating 
point of the hill, the Romans had erected an Augusteum, while the northern 
promontory terminated with a temple of Julia. Round the altar and temple of 
Minerva were found the most precious bas-reliefs, which with those of Olympia 
have become the glory of the Berlin Museum. About two hundred statues and 
sculptured pedestals of the best period were recovered from the ruins, besides an 
admirable frieze some 330 feet long, representing a battle of the giants, the last 
struggle of the Titans against the gods. In the whole range of Greek art there 
is no heroic subject treated with greater variety of invention combined with a 
more powerful grasp of the predominant idea and skilful execution. These Titans 
are supposed to symbolize the Gauls (Galatians), overthrown near Pergamus in the 
year 168 B.C. Another scarcely less interesting discovery was that of a Greek 
house two thousand years old, with all its compartments and mural paintings com- 
plete. Henceforth the name of Pergamus takes the same position in the history of 
art that it hitherto occupied in the history of the sciences, thanks to its illustrious 
citizens, such as Galen, and to the precious manuscripts written on the skins first 
prepared here, and hence called pergamena, whence our word parchment. 

A road 17 miles long, constructed by Humann, explorer of the ruins, leads from 
Pergamus to its new port of Dikli, already a flourishing Greek town, the rise of 
which has seriously affected the trade of Chandarlik on the north side of the gulf 
of like name. On the opposite side the hamlet of Lamurt-koi marks the site of 
the ancient Chimes (CymiX mother of the Italian dimes, where Virgil places one 
of the entrances to the lower regions. Farther on the Greeks have founded the 
settlement of Yenijeh-Fokia, or " New Phocsea," on a part of the coast exposed to 
the north winds. 

Karqja-Fokia, or simply Fokia (Fughs, Foglerieh} is the famous P/ioctra, whose 
daring navigators founded Marseilles and so many other colonies. Its harbour, 
sheltered on the north and north-west by the little Peristerides archipelago, was 



formerly defended by a citadel, whose mine -till cover the rrest of a neigboaring 
headland. The modern town, inhabited almost exclusively by Greeks, is grouped 
round the beach, whence are visible the remains of an old acropolis overlooking 
the modern Beaport of Varia, the Haj'i-Liman of the Turks. The trade of Phocaea 

Fig. 130.— Phoi ba. 

Scale 1 : 70,000. 

L . of Greenwich 

to 32 Feet. 32 to 80 Feet. 80 to 160 Feet 160 and upwards. 

— ^— ^ — _ &S00 Miles. 

i> at present restricted to the export of salt, enormous heaps of which are piled up 
on the quays. 

Qhediz, which gives its modern name to the valley of the Hermus, is a small 



place standing on a creek commanded by the snowy crests of the Murad-dagh and 
Ak-dagh. It is probably the Cadi of the ancient Greeks, and occupies a position 
somewhat analogous to those of Demirji, Oordiz, and Ak-hmar, in the upper valleys 
at the southern foot of the hills skirting the northern edge of the Hermus basin. 
Ak-hissar, the ancient ThyaUra, has preserved nothing but a few sculptured frag- 
ments of its old temples and palaces. It is now eclipsed by Mermereh, which 
stands on a hill on the north side of the lake of the same name. 

Kula, lying in the " burnt " region south of the Hermus, is noted for its rugs 
and other woven goods, and is also an agricultural centre for the opium and other 

Fi?. 131. — Sardes — Columns of the Temple of Cm. hi:. 

produce forwarded to Smyrna by the Hermus Valley railway. The present 
terminus of this important line is Ala-shehr, the ancient Philadelphia, founded by 
Attalus Philadelphus, king of Pergamus. Although frequently overthrown by 
earthquakes, Philadelphia, which lies at the foot of a spur of the Tmolus (Boz-dagh), 
in the valley of the Cogamus (Sari Kiz-chai), a tributary of the Hermus, still 
preserves the remains of several temples, of a stadium, a theatre, and of the city 
and acropolis walls. It was one of the " Seven Churches " mentioned in the 
Apocalypse, but no ruins have been discovered dating from the first period of 
Christianity. It was the last Anatolian city captured by the Turks, against whom 
it held out till the year 1390. At present its Greek inhabitants are increasing 
rapidly and developing an active local trade. 



Jor/), former capita] of Lydia, is aow a mere roadside railway 
station surrounded by a few sheds and hovels. It stands on the famous Pactolus, 
a rivulet flowing Erom Mounl Tmolus to the left bank of the Eermus, and here 
crossed by a plank. The gold-dust washed down from the surrounding conglo- 
merate and red argillaceous hills Was used to strike the first known cuius, and 
earned for the Pactolus a reputation for inexhaustible wealth. At present the 
native Greek and Turkish shepherds do not find ii wortb their while to wash the 
Bands for the precious metal. Although a greal part of the ground occupied by 
the old city has been covered by the alluvia brought down by the torrents from 
the spurs of Tmolus, the remains are still visible of some ancient monuments, < >f 
these the lirst is the temple of " Cybele," probably a Banctuary dedicated by 

Fig. 132.— Mount Siptlub. 
Scale 1 : 700,000. 

3i Feet 

32 Feet aud upwards. 
IS Miles. 

Alexander to Jupiter Olympius, of which two lofty columns are still standing. 
Since the place was visited in L699 by Chishull, tin 1 door and six columns, with 
their architraves, have all disappeared; hut a systematic exploration would pro- 
bably yield many precious sculptures from the renowned city of Croesus. Farther 
north the numerous sepulchral harrows in the neighbourhood of Lake Gyges 
I Mermereh) form quite a necropolis, known as the Bin Bir Tttpek, or t lie " Thousand 
and One Mounds." Of these the largest, traditionally assigned to Alyattes, 
father of ' ircesus, is ao less than 1,200 yards in circumference, but the explorations 
here recently made have only served to show that it had already been rifled by 
former treasure-seekers. 

The modern town of Durgutli, lying west of Sardes, and better known by the 
name of Cussaba, stands at the foot of the hills in an extremely fertile plain watered 


















. t • '■' 



by numerous streamlets flowing north to the left bank of the Hermus. Here 
terminates the easiest route, leading from Smyrna over the Boz-dagh, down to the 
Hermus valley. Before the opening of the railway which sweeps round the west 
foot of Mount Sipylus, all the traffic with the coast followed this route, which 
nowhere rises much more than 600 feet above sea level. Here are still visible 
numerous traces of an ancient highway, and in the neighbourhood of the road 
descending to the Hermus Valley a gray limestone cliff shows the bas-relief 
described by Herodotus as a figure of Sesostris, and now known as the Nymphi 
monument, so called from the neighbouring village of Ninfi or Ntf, the site of an 
ancient nympheum. The rock has been much weathered, and many details of the 
armour and costume can no longer be recognised. Nevertheless it seems certain 
that this bas-relief never bore any hieroglyphic inscription, while its style has 
nothing in common with Egyptian art. Whether of Lydian, or possibly of Hittite 
origin, it betrays evidences of Assyrian influence. Conspicuous also in other pre- 
Hellenic bas-reliefs of Asia Minor. In 1875 the vestiges of a second " Sesostris " 
were discovered by Humann on a rock in the same valley. 

Magnesia — Smyrna — Chio. 

The modern Manissa (Manser}, the old Magnesia, either of the Hermus or of 
Mount Sipylus, occupies a superb position at the foot of the steep cliffs separating 
it from the Gulf of Smyrna. But by the side of the picturesque Turkish quarter, 
which still retains its original aspect, a Greek Magnesia has recently sprung up, 
which threatens soon to outstrip its sleepy rival. About 5 miles to the east a 
recess in a rocky wall contains a somewhat decayed colossal statue, which has been 
identified by some with the Niobe of Homer, by others with the Cybele, mother of 
the gods, spoken of by Pausanias. In any case it seems to be one of the first 
tentative efforts of Hellenic statuary. The scientific term " magnetism " is derived 
from Magnesia, which was formerly noted for its rocks veined with loadstone. 

Below Magnesia the only town in the Hermus Valley is Menemen, which lies at 
the point where the river escapes from the gorges and enters its alluvial plain. It 
may be regarded as an advanced suburb of Smyrna, the Ismir of the Turks, the 
great emporium of Asia Minor, which lies at the eastern extremity of the gulf of 
like name, where it covers a large space rising gently southwards along the foot of 
Mount Pagus, still crowned with the ruins of an ancient acropolis. But its positii in, 
much inferior to that of many other less vaunted Ionian towns, presents little to 
relieve the dull monotony of its general aspect, except when approached from the 
south. Here a good view is commanded of the Turkish quarter, spreading out with 
its domes, and minarets, and cypress groves between the hills and the gulf. 

Next to Constantinople, Smyrna is the most populous, and next to Athens the 
most influential, city of the Hellenic world. In the port little is seen but European 
shipping, and all the quarters skirting the quays belong to the "Infidel." Here 
everything bears the stamp of Western enterprise. The quays paved with lava- 
blocks from Vesuvius, the English trams, Austrian carriages, houses built in tho 



French taste; bricks, marbles, piles, timber, and other materials have all been 
imported from beyond the seas. The stranger scarcely knows any other Smyrna 
except thai of the Greeks and Franks, whence the Turks have been driven to the 
slopes of Mount Pagus. Eere they occupy a labyrinth of wretched wooden houses, 
which would never be purified bul Eor the fires which occasionally break out and 

Fig. 133.— Smyrna. 
Scale 1 : 35.000. 

. . of K"9 

27 - ir 

4 *V;V' Cemeteries. 


OtolttFeet. 16 to 32 Feet. 'a Feet. M Feet uud upwards. 
1,100 Y.i 

make great gaps in tlieir midst. Judging from the state of public instruction, 
there can be no doubt that the Greeks arc rapidly acquiring the supremacy over 
their political rulers. Their college, which has long been protected by British 
influence from the jealous interference of the Turkish Government, occupies a whole 
quarter, and is still spreading. It possesses a constantly accumulating collection 




134. — Isthmus op Vurlah. 

Scale 1 : 400,000. 

of antiquities, and a large library of priceless value at this threshhold of Asiatic 
ignorance. The Armenians are also zealous in the cause of public instruction, and 
even the hitherto despised Jews are gradually rising in the general estimation, 
thanks to the energy they display in the education of their children. Many have 
substituted French for Spanish as the current language of social intercourse!* 

The local industries are unimportant, and even the so-called " Smyrna " carpets 
come from the interior. Nothing 
is produced in the city and suburbs, 
except some coarse cottons, wicker- 
work, ribbons, and light silken 
fabrics interwoven with gold 
thread. The chief comestible is 
Italra, a paste made of sesame- 
flour and honey, highly appre- 
ciated by Eastern communities 
condemned to frequent abstinence 
from flesh. Most of the exports 
consist of industrial and agricul- 
tural produce brought from the 
interior by the railways, which at 
the end of 1883 had a total length 
of 340 miles. These products — 
grapes, figs, cereals, oils, cotton, 
tobacco, opium, hides, dressed 
skins, carpets, and rugs — are ex- 
changed for English cotton and 
linen goods, German cloth, Lyon- 
ese silks, brocades, hardware, and 
other manufactures of all sorts. 
The trade of Smyrna with Europe 
is increasing rapidly, having risen 
from about £3,000,000 in 1816 
to £8,500,000 in 1882. 

Of the summer retreats and 
health resorts in the neighbour- 
hood of Smyrna, the chief are 
Burnabat, Hajilar, Bunar-bashi, 
Kakluja, all situated amongst the 


hills and valleys stretching east 


SO to 160 

ISO to 320 

380 I 
and upwards. 

6 Miles. 

from the gulf. But amid all 

these new centres of population, where is the site of the ancient Smyrna, and 

* Approximate population of the " nations "in Bm yrna : subject Greeks, 90,000 ; Hellenic citizens, 
30,000; Turks, 40,000; Jews, 15,000; Armenians, 9,000; Levantines and foreigners, 8,000; Total, 



where are we to look for the Melee, on whose banks Homer is supposed to have 
been born? The old traditions had placed this streamlet under the walls of 
Smyrna, and with each successive displacement "l the city the Dame of the river 
was transferred to a new watercourse. Accepting this tradition, most travellers 
identify the Meles with the rivulet at present flowing to the north-east of the town 

8l RAIT "l Chios OB < 111 -mi.h. 
Scale 1 : 400,000 

36" Iff 

Q6'20 E 1 of Gretnw.ct* 

to 160 

160 to 320 

Fe< 1 
and hi 

IS Mil. - 

under the " Caravan " bridge, while others think the true Meles was either 
Hara-bunar, more commonly known as " Diana's Bath," or the torrent entering 

the roadstead at the north-east corner of the gulf. 

Like the city of Homer, the ancient Clazomencs, birthplace of Anaxagoras, has 

almost entirely disappeared. It stood on an island in the outer gulf, which has 

now been converted into a quarantine station for shipping arriving from infected 

ill III 


PI 1 




111 1111 



m : 













seaports. A causeway, now razed to the level of the water, harl been constructed 
by Alexander, connecting the island with the mainland, at the point where now 
stands the small seaport of Scald, the outlet of the trade of Vurlah, which lies in a 
rich wine-growing country some 3 miles farther inland. On the south coast of the 
isthmus, to which Vurlah gives its name, the two towns of Sevri-hissar and Sigajik 
have also become important agricultural centres. About \\ mile south of Sigajik 
stand the imposing ruins of the Ionian city of Teos, birthplace of Anacreon. 
Within the ramparts, nearly 4 miles in circuit, may still be distinguished the 
remains of temples, of a theatre, and of the shrine of Dionysus, to whom the place 
was dedicated. On the same coast, but farther south-east, a few shapeless heaps 
mark the site of Lebedos ; while almost every trace of Claros and Colophon has 
disappeared. This district, formerly thickly peopled and noted for a famous breed 
of horses, is now a wilderness, frequented only in winter bv a few nomad pastors. 

During Greek and Roman times Lebedos was much visited by strangers, for the 
sake of the neighbouring thermal waters, which are still utilised. Few regions are 
richer in hot springs than this peninsular district projecting between the Gulfs of 
Smyrna and Scala Nora. The most frequented are those of Chesmeh, at the western 
extremity over against Chio, and near the ruins of Erythrea. Chesmeh, that is, 
the " Fountain," in a pre-eminent sense, is memorable for the naval battle in which 
the Ottoman fleet was destroyed by the Russians in 1770. The high temperature 
of the springs in this district is attributed to the underground forces, which are 
still active in the whole peninsular and adjacent islands. By the terrific earthquake 
of October, 1883, over six thousand houses were demolished in Chesmeh, Latzata, 
Ritra, and Reis-dereh. 

The dilapidated appearance of the town of Chio, which stretches for some miles 
along the east coast of the island of like name, still bears witness to the disastrous 
effects of the earthquake of 1881, when the whole place was nearly destroyed, 
burying over 5,800 victims beneath its ruins. But such is the enterprise of its 
inhabitants, that they are already recovering from the calamity, as tiny had 
previously survived the still more frightful catastrophe of 1822, when, during the 
war of independence, 25,000 Chiotswere massacred by the Turks, 45,000 carried off 
as slaves to Smyrna and Constantinople, and 15,000 driven to take refuge in the 
islands and mainland of Greece. Of 100,000 souls at that time inhabiting the 
island of Chio, not more than 2,000 survived to repeople this "Paradise of the 
Archipelago." The town of Chio, or Castro, as it is called, from the neighbouring 
Genoese castle, occupies a convenient position on the main route of vessels coasting 
the west side of Asia Minor. It thus serves as the advanced outport of Smyrna 
towards Athens and the "West. It is continued north and south through the 
extensive suburbs of Vrontados, the shipping quarter, and Campos, the resort of its 
wealthy merchants. The Cbiots have at all times been famous for their trading 
instincts, and their Greek kindred, jealous of their enterprising spirit, pretend that 
they are the descendants of an old Jewish or Phoenician colony. Nor can it be 
denied that the women especially betray a certain Semitic expression in the nobility 
and regularity of their features. Like the Jews, they keep aloof from strangers, 



and oven from the Hellenes of the neighbouring islands, intermarrying only 
amongst themselves, and manifesting the same clannish spirit in all their busu 
relations. Although the island is uol naturally very fertile, except in the glens 
and Lowlands, its industrious inhabitants raise enormous quantities of fruits of :ill 
kinds, annually exporting from thirty-five to forty millions of oranges, forty to 
fifty millions of lemons, one hundred and twenty-five to one hundred and fifty 
million pounds of mastic, besides large quantities of raisins, grapes, figs, and other 
produce. A remarkable phenomenon of the local vegetation is the olive, which 
bears fruit only every two years, while the Lentiscus or mastic- tree, elsewhere almost 
unproductive, here yields in abundance the precious gum or resin used in the 

Fig. 136. — Cmo- -View taken aitf.ii the Earthquake op 1881. 

preparation of ma-tie. The only ancient monument still preserved in the island is 
a seat carved in the rock, about 5 miles north of Castro, supported l>v rude images 
either of lions or sphinxes. The Turks keep a garrison in the citadel, but take 
little part in the government of the island, which, like most others in the archi- 
pelago, is administered by an almost autonomous body of patricians. 

Ephesus — Mn. in - — Halicarnassi s. 

South of the Smyrna hills the valley of the Cayster, or " Little Meander," 
terminating in the Ephesus marshes, comprises the little territory in ancient times 
specially designated by the name of Asia. It is still one of the most densely 


peopled tracts of Anatolia, comprising hundreds of villages, and the three important 
Turkish towns of Oedernish, Tire/i (Thyra\ and Baindir, which export to Smyrna 

the grapes, olives, figs, cereals, and other produces of the surrounding districts. 
West of Tireh, which is connected with the Smyrna railway system, lies the 
extensive chifllc of Manhat, presented by the Sultan to the French poet Lamartine, 
but never cultivated by him. 

The city of Ephesus, at the issue of the Cayster Valley, has ceased to exist. Its 
now fever-stricken marshy plain is strewn with superb ruins, but entirely depopu- 
lated, except at the wretched hamlet of Ayasuluk, overshadowed by the broken 
arches of a Roman aqueduct. Originally comprising three distinct towns, Ephesus 
at one time covered a large space, its ramparts enclosing the steep slopes of the 
Koressos ridge as well as the isolated Mount Pion (Prion), while another bluff 
farther east was crowned by Hellenic buildings since replaced by a Turkish castle, 
former residence of the Ayasuluk sultans. This extensive area of about 2\ miles 
east and west is thickly strewn with magnificent remains, still attesting the power 
and splendour of the " Eye of Asia," capital of the Ionian confederation, religious 
metropolis of the Hellenic world, consecrated to the dread goddess, " Mother of 
Nature," and " Source of all things," who under the triple title of Anahid, Artemis, 
and Diana, ruled at once over Europe and Asia. After eight years of incessant 
labour, the archaeologist Wood at last discovered, in 1871, the foundations of the 
Artemision, the great temple of Ephesus, lying over twenty feet below the surface 
close to the mosque of Ayasuluk, which itself stands on the site of a Christian 
church. The prodigious building, four times larger than the Parthenon, may now 
be reconstructed in imagination, with its rows of fluted and richly sculptured 
columns, with its groups of statuary and altars, whose fretted marbles still afforded 
glimpses of the neighbouring groves and wooded slopes. Some idea of this 
" seventh wonder of the world" may even be had from the admirable fragments 
removed to the British Museum. The remains lying on the surface had been 
partly utilised both for the construction of the aqueduct and, later on, for that of 
the mosque, an original and remarkable specimen of Turko-Persian art, which is 
embellished with verses from the Koran, disposed in marvellous arabesque designs. 
The foundations exposed on the slopes of Pion and Koressos also reveal the 
amazing wealth of sumptuous edifices grouped within the walls of Ephesus. 
Conspicuous amongst these was the theatre, which seated over twenty-five thousand 
spectators,* and which was followed by an uninterrupted line of temples reaching 
all the way to the harbour. The avenues were lined by thousands of statins, the 
materials for which were extracted from the vast quarries of Mount Pion. 

As in all religious cities, every stone in Ephesus had its legend, while ev» ry 
prominent site on the surrounding hills was noted for some miraculous event. The 
Christians themselves, heirs of the Hellenic traditions, came to regard Ephesus us 
one of their holy places. Here were the " Prison of Saint Paul," the tomb of 
Mary Magdalene, or the cave where the "Seven Sleepers" slumbered with their 

* Wood, " Discoveries at Ephesus." Falkner and other explorers had estimated the number of 
seats at 56,000. 



faithful dog for two hundred years. Tradition also places at Ephesus the residence 
of the Apostle John, the " holy theologian," whence the name of the hamlet of 
Haghiot Theoloyos, corrupted by the Turks into Ayasuluk. According to Eeraclitus, 
the most illustrious Greek born in Ephesus was Apelles, of whom no work survives 
in jjistify bis reputation in the eyes of posterity. 

The two harbours formerly possessed by Bphesus have been completely filled in, 
and are now replaced by the port of " New Ephesus," better known by its Italian 
name of Scala Nova. Formerly much frequented, this place has fallen into decay 
since the opening of the Meander Valley railway, by which the produce of the 
whole district is forwarded direct to Smyrna. West of it, aear the ruins of Ni <<jio/is, 
lies the Greek town of Changli, said to be the Panionium where the delegates of 

17.— I'.rniM.s. 
Scale 1 : 90,000. 



*Ai • 


\ "- -c>-f%^&? 

\ ^jf- '■■ - - / •*" 


Inner Por 


L. ef breenv 


80Feetaud upwards. 
______ 2J Miles. 

all the Ionian cities came to deliberate on the interests of the confederation. 
Facing it is the island of Samos, of whose old capital nothing remains except a 
sintrle column of the Eereion, the most venerated sanctuary of Hera in the whole 
of Asiatic Ionia. On its site now stands the little town of Tigani, or the "Shovel," 
so named from the shape of its port mi tin- Strait of Samos, separating it from the 
Mycale peninsula. The surrounding plain is strewn with shapeless ruins, and 
under the hill of the acropolis near Khora has recently been discovered the double 
subterranean gallery, about 1,000 feet long, which supplied ancient Samos with 
water. This gallery is now being cleared out, and Tigani will soon receive an 
abundant stream of pure water through a tunnel excavated some two thousand 
four hundred years ago. 



Vathy, present capital of the Samoa principality, lies on the opposite side of the 
island, at the head of an inlet opening towards the north-west, and accessible for 
large vessels right up to the new quays. The town consists of three distinct 
quarters, the old Palaio-Kastron beyond the steep hill to the south, the city proper 
on the northern spurs, and Kachuni, the new district grouped round the harbour. 
Vathy does a large export trade in fruits, wine, and other produce. It is connected 
by a broad carriage-way with Tigani, on the east side of the island, which is rapidly 
becoming transformed by the spread of agriculture and gardening. The inhabi- 
tants enjoy an almost complete autonomy, being administered by a number of 

Fig. 138. — Ephesus — Prison of St. Pavl. 

patricians under a prince nominated by the Porte, to which it pays a nominal yearly 
tribute of £1,900. It flies its own flag, and, thanks to the industry and frugal 
habits of the people, it is rapidly increasing in population and material prosperity. 
Thousands migrate yearly to Smyrna in search of employment, and the same 
movement is going on in the neighbouring islands of Nikaria and Patmos, the last 
of which has lost nearly half of its population since the middle of the century. 

D'ineir, at the head of the fertile Meander Valley, lies on the very threshold of 
the central plateaux, and, as the destined terminus of the Smyrna-Meander railway, 
must soon become the central mart for Phrygia and Pisidia. UcJiak, lying on one 
of the headstreams of the Meander, in a district which grows the best opium in 


80OT ll \\ ESTEEM ASIA. 

Anatolia, is noted for the so-called "Smyrna carpets," of which the yearly export 
to England, France, and the United States is estimated at about £80,000. The 
cotton stuffs known in the market as alqjas are chieflj woven by the women in the 
neighbouring Mussulman town of Kadi-koi,ia the Lycus basin, between SaraUkoi 
and Denizli. About one thousand looms are employed at iliis place, and in order 
to increase the number of hands, nearly all the Turks of Kadi-koi take the four 
lawful wives permitted bj the Koran. 

Denizli, at the east foot of the Baba-dagh, has never recovered from the 
disastrous effects of the earthquake by which it \i^ overthrown in the middle of 
the last century. North of it lie the imposing remains of Laodicea, one of the 
"Seven churches of Asia," whose aqueduct, temples, and two theatres are now 

Fig. 139. — Strait or Tioani oh Samos. 

Scale 1 : 200,000. 

■ »• 


L « ofbreenwcK 

to 80 Feet. SO to 160 Feet. 1G0 Feet and npwardn. 
r, Miles. 

collectively known as Eski Hissar, or "Old Castle." Here are also found some 
traces of Coloxsux, at the village of Ehonas, of Aphrodisias at Oeira, and especially 
of Iliernpolix, whose magnificent theatre is one of the best-preserved monuments 
of the time of Hadrian. < >n the opposite or northern side of the Meander Valley, 
Nazli is the chief centre of the so-called "Smyrna figs," whole Forests of which are 
here cultivated for the export trade to the west. But the most important place in 
this region is Aidin-Guzel-ITmar, or simply Aidin, which gives its name to the 
vilayet of which Smyrna is the capital. Its yellow, green, and blue houses stretch 
for snme miles at the foot and along the slope of the hills skirting the north side of 
the middle Meander Valley. Of its 32,000 inhabitants in 1883, 2:3,000 were Turks, 
6,500 Greeks, 1,800 Jews and 1,000 Armenians. Here stood the ancient city of 



Tralks, whose ruins have for centuries supplied their building materials to the 
inhabitants of Aidin. 

In the lower Meander Valley the only place of note is Solia, which has acquired 
some importance from its liquorice factories, and from the neighbouring lignite and 
emery mines. In this district are found some of the most precious remains of 

Pig. 1 ill.— Vathv. 
Scale 1 : 60,000. 



80 to 160 

160 to 320 

. 1,100 Yards. 

820 Feet 
and upwards. 

ancient art. The village of Samsun marks the site of Priene, whose temple of 
Minerva Polias was a masterpiece of Ionian architecture. At the wretched village 
of Palatia, some 12 miles farther south, stood Miletus, the renowned birthplace of 
Thales and Auaximander, of which little now survives except the remains of a 
theatre, the largest in Asia Minor. Myontc, on a bend of the Meander, north-east 


south aykstkkx asia. 

nt Miletus, has completely disappeared ; but HeracUa, at the head of the old Gulf 
of Latmos, has preserved it- agora, ami at Didyma (Hieronda) are seen the ruins 

Fig. 141— .Mll.LTls AMI DlDYMA. 

Scale 1 : 170,000. 

27 - lQ' 

L , of UreenwicH 



SS to 80 


wi to leo 


and upwards. 

. :i Mil's. 

of the Banctuary of Apollo Branchides, the largest and one of the most remarkable 
in Anatolia. This irin] ile was connected with the nearest port by a road 2^ miles 
long, lined with seated statues recalling the Egyptian style. 



The small Sari-chai, or "Yellow River" basin, also abounds in antiquities. 
Near the town which has given its name to the Gulf of Mendelia, the ancient 
Euromus shows the remains of a tine Corinthian temple ; every house in M< 
(Mylasa) lias been built of materials taken from old palaces, temples, and mauso- 
leums ; the tombs and cyclopean walls of Iassus, near Asin-kaleh, north of the mouth 
of the Sari-chai, have been utilised in the construction of a Venetian fortress, facing 
Caryantta on the opposite side of the Gulf of Mendelia. From this point an easy 
pass leads down to Halicarnassus, now Budrun, birthplace of Herodotus, on a deep 

Fig. 142. — Bl'DRl'X and Kos. 
Scale 1 : 380,000. 



to 64(1 


640 to 1.280 


l.?80 Feet 
and upwards 

_ 60 Miles. 

and sheltered inlet lying between two headlands crowned respectively by a temple 
of Aphrodite and the famous mausoleum erected by Artemisia. After escaping 
the effects of repeated earthquakes, this stupendous monument was at last 
demolished by the knights of St. John, and the materials used to build a strong- 
hold, which after all they failed to defend against the Sultan Soliman. In 1857 — 8 
its site was revealed by Newton and l'ullan, and some admirable fragments removed 
to the British Museum. It was the oldest monument in Anatolia, dating, according 
to Rayet, from the middle of the fourth century before the Christian era. 

Of Cnidus, metropolis of the Dorian Kexapolis, which possessed a statue of 
Venus by Praxiteles, nothing remains except some tombs and cyclopean walls, 


from which Mclicinct Ali drew the materials for some of his Egyptian palaces. At 
present the chief marl of Bouth-eas( Anatolia is Kot, at the eastern extremity of 

the island of like name, one of the richest in the archipelago. It exports excellent 
wines, unions, sesame, and supplies the Alexandrian market with grapes, lemons, 
almonds, pomegranates, and other Emits. Like Halicarnassus, Cos is commanded 
by a fortress erected by the knights of St. John. Elere still flourishes a secular 
plantain 63 feet in circumference, beneath whose shade Hippocrates is traditionally 
said to have administered advice to his patients. Lying near the Nisyros volcano, 
Kos abounds in thermal springs, and its fertile soil is due to the igneous matter 
formerly ejected by that now extinct crater. Of Kihmnos, Astropahea, Symi, 
and the other rocky islets in these waters, the chief resource are their sponge 

Fig. 112. — I'l NINsII.AH (IF (.Met B. 

Scale 1 : 7CVW). 



.A* c S 

XfTXrfXgM-' ■ -, )■,,.,,. ~ V Pari* .jg^t&fc 





; CMflpZ 

2," 30 

2d' L . cT b r eenwich 

n to 640 

Gin to 1.2S0 

and upwards. 
19 Mil. - 

fisheries, in which Symi alone employs over one hundred and sixty vessels of all 
sizes. All the Symiots are skilful divers, plunging fearlessly into deep waters 
infested bv sharks. 

RnonFs — !< OMI m — Mf.RsIX \. 

Rhodes, the " Land of Roses," or rather of " Pomegranates," as appears from the 

old coins, is one of the largest islands in the archipelago, where' in some respects it 
occupies an exceptionally favourable position. Sheltered from the north-east winds 
by the Lycian highlands, unexposed to direct northern pales, while in .summer 
enjoying cool marine breezes, its fertile valleys have the advantage of a more 
equable climate than any of the other Sporades. Rhodes is the " Bride of Helios," 



the "Abode of the Heliades," a land free alike from sunless days and leafless trees. 
Lying at the south-west extremity of the peninsula, it forms a converging point of 
all the marine highways in the Levant, whence the surprising extent of its corn- 
Fig. 143. — Port of Rhodes. 

mereial relations in former times. In the third and second centuries of the old era 
the Rhodians were " the first navigators in the world." Heirs of the Phoenicians, 
who had planted colonies in the island, they founded trading settlements as far 
west as the Iberian peninsular, where their presence is still recalled by the town of 


801 l'lI-\Vi;sTF.I!X ASIA. 

Rosas, and the Rhoda .Mountains in the Pyrenees. They carried on a brisk trade 
with Sinope, which supplied them with corn from the Crimea, with slaves and lish, 
and tin- free navigation of the ISosphorus was at all times secured to their shipping 
by their friendly relations with Byzantium. The position of Rhodes was also one 
of vital importance strategically, and when driven from the mainland, the knights 
of St. John showed their sagacity in establishing their chief stronghold on a point 
of great natural strength at the northern extremity of the island. Here they 
stemmed the tide of Moslem invasion for over two hundred years, and in 1522, 
after a heroic resistance, at last capitulated to the forces of Soliman the Magnificent. 

Fig. 141. — Rhodes. 
Scale 1 : 43,000. 

t of Grfen*;^ 28°l5 



to 8 Feet. 8 to 160 Feet. 160 to 640 Feet. 610 Feet mid upwards. 
1,100 Yards. 

The town still retains somewhat the aspect of a feudal city, although the chureh of 
St. John, the palace of the Grand Masters, and some other mediaeval monuments 
were unfortunately destroyed by an explosion in 1856. Its three harbours have 
also been nearly obliterated, the central alone being still accessible to ordinary 
craft, but exposed to the dangerous north-east gales. On the east coast stands the 
now deserted port of Lindos, near the old Phoenician town of Camiros, where 
thousands of curious earthenware objects have been found. 

Facing Rhodes on the mainland is the noble harbour of Mnkri, large enough to 
receive all the shipping of the Mediterranean. But Makri itself is a mere village 









on the site of the ancient Telmesms, of which important remains still survive. 
Some remarkable debris of Lycian architecture have also been found at Xantkos, 
which formerly crowned an isolated hill on the alluvial plain watered by the 
GEren-chai or Xanthus River. The tombs and bas-reliefs collected in 1836 by 
Fellows in this district now fill one of the rooms in the British .Museum. Since 

Fig. 145.— Valley of the Xanthus. 
Scale 1 : 6S0.00O. 


to 160 Feet. 1G0 to 320 Feet. 320 Feet and upwards. 

— — ^— — — 12 Miles. 

that time dozens of old towns full of curious remains have been explored in the 
river valleys and along the coast of Lycia. Such are Pinara, now Minora, on a 
western affluent of the Xanthus ; TIos, near the left bank of the same river ; Patara, 
to the west of Kalcniaki Bay; Phellus and Anti-Phellw farther east ; and in the 
Dembra-chai Valley Giol-baclti, whose ancient name has not been determined. 



The numerous Lycian inscriptions on the rocks and tombs of this region, although 
written in a character resembling the archaic Greek, have not yet been completely 

( M modern Lycian towns the most flourishing is Elmalu, in the closed basin of 
Lake A.vlan-g6l, which lies near the geometrical centre of the semicircle described 
by the Lycian Beaboard between the Gulfs of Makri and Adalia. Elmalu is 
inhabited chiefly by Greeks and Armenians, with a Turkish quarter overlooked by 
a graceful mosque. It does a considerable export trade in morocco leather, skins, 
fruits, and dyes, chiefly through the seaport of Phenika in Lycia, and Adalia, 
probably the Attalea, the city of Attains Philadelphus, present capital of Pamphylia. 

Fig. 14G. — Chief Itineraries of Lycia. 
Scale 1 : 800,000. 

E.of Greenwich 


Schonborn. D. & 8. — Daniell & Spratt. B. & N.— Benndorf & Niemann. Teh.— Tcuihatcheff. F.— Fellows. 
__^_^^^_ SO Miles. 

Lying in a rich agricultural district, Adalia carries on a considerable traffic, especi- 
ally with Kgypt. It is the natural outlet of the closed basins limited northwards 
by the Sultan-dagh, where arc situated some industrial towns, such as Buldur, the 
ancient Polydorion, on the right hank of Lake Buldur; Ixbarta, formerly Ban's, on 
a rich plain watered by the headstreams of the Ak-su; Aghlasan, near the extensive 
ruins of Sagalassus, at one time one of the strongest places in Asia Minor ; Eghedir, 
the Greek Akrotiri, occupying a picturesque position at the southern extremity of 
the lake of like name ; Bei-s/te/tr, on a stream flowing to lake Soehla-eoL 

Konieh, the ancient Iconium, capital of Lycaonia, is strongly situated at the foot 
of the hills overlooking the plains south of the Great Salt Lake, on the main route 
between Syria and Constantinople. It is a decayed place, interesting only for its 
mediaeval and ancient remains, amongst which the mosques dating from the Seljuk 



period are specially remarkable for their exquisite arabesques and enamel work. 
Zillcli, lying to the north-west, is entirely inhabited by the Greek descendants of 
the old Hellenic population expelled by the Turks from Iconium. In the region 
stretching west of this point, where Davis has recently discovered some Hittite 
inscriptions, are Karaman, formerly capital of Karamania ; Ererjli, Kara-lunar, and 
Nigdeh, near Tyana, birthplace of Apollonius, recently discovered by Hamilton. 

JL rsina, the chief seaport of Cilicia, has been partly built with the broken 
marble blocks of an older Greek city. Some miles to the west other remains 
indicate the position of Soli, where was spoken the barbarous Greek dialect whence 
incorrect expressions take the name of " solecisms." Farther on stand the Roman 

Fig. 147. — Elmalc. 

Scale 1 : 4S0,0(V>. 

* ' * >*L 


• 12 Miles. 

colonnades of Pompciopolis, and the remarkable megalith known as the Derikli-tash 
a huge prehistoric block resembling the menhirs of Brittany, 50 feet high and 
weighing at least 300 tons. Mersina is connected by a good modern road with 
Tarsus and Adana, the former near the right bank of the Cydnus (Tarsus-chai), 
the latter in the fertile valley of the Sarus (Seihun). Tarsus claims a vast antiquity, 
and, according to a local legend, the plain on which it stands was the first left dry 
by the subsiding waters of the Deluge. In the time of Caisar and Augustus it was 
the rival of Alexandria, and its schools were considered superior even tc those of 
Athens. Mark Antony made it the capital of his Asiatic empire, but it was ruined 
by subsequent wars, and its harbour became choked with sand. Of its former 
greatness not a vestige now remains beyond a huge mound of potteries, consisting 



chiefly of votive figures, and the Dunuk-tash, a huge square block of masonry 
nearlj : ^"i feel long and aboul 26 feet high, the date and purpose of which liavo 
not been determined. A portion of the trade of Tarsus baa passed to Adana, which 
is the natural outport "I the Seihun and Jihun basins, and which occupies a vital 


Scale 1 . 460,000. 





b - •-• a 

l . of Lr 

.12 Miles. 

position at the southern terminus of the historic route leading from the Upper 
Euphrates to the coast of Cilicia. The Seihun is also navigable to the quays of the 
city, which has a large export trade with Cyprus and Syria, and which is soon to 
be connected with Mersina by a narrow railway 36 miles long. 


In the Upper Seihun Valley Sar or Sartereh, near the new town of Azizieh, 
marks the site of the ancient Komana, or Hierapolia, whose temples, theatres, 
gymnasia, and other remains date from the GraEco-Roman period, although mostly 
of an Egyptian rather than of a classical type. Albistan, sometimes known as El 
Boston, or " The Garden," is the chief place on the Upper Jihun. It lies in a 
fertile well-watered plain cultivated by members of the Armenian Confederacy, 
consisting of six small republican communities, which from a remote time have 
maintained a semi-independent position in the neighbouring upland Zeitun Valley. 
Hamuli, also near the confluence of the Jihun and Aksu, is largely inhabited by 
industrious Armenians occupied with cotton-weaving and the preparation of cloth of 
gold and silver. The governor of the vilayet removes during the summer heats from 
Adana to this health-resort. Sis, in the same district, was a royal Armenian residence 
from 1182 to 1374, and is still the seat of a patriarch, whom the Turkish Government 
has set up as a sort of rival to the Catholicos of Echmiadzin in Russian Armenia. 

Future Prospects of Axatoua. 

Geographically, ethnologically, and historically a land of transition between 
Europe and Asia, Anatolia presents in its social and political condition a twofold 
movement of decay and progress, the prelude of inevitable revolutions. The Greek 
element is advancing, the Turkish receding ; the seaboard cities are flourishing, 
those of the interior falling to ruins. Modern industry finds a genial home in 
Smyrna in close proximity to the camping-ground of nomad tribes, as destitute of 
material comforts as the Kirghiz of Central Asia ; certain coastlands are as highly 
cultivated as the plains of Western Europe, while elsewhere whole districts are a 
prey to the brigand. Large landed estates are being developed, reducing entire 
populations to a state of disguised serfdom, and extensive tracts are at times wasted 
by frightful famines, such as those of 1874 and 1878. Nevertheless trade, the index 
of agricultural and industrial activity, is yearly increasing. The exportation of 
madder and raw silks has no doubt fallen off ; but cotton, opium, and dried fruits 
have more than compensated the loss. At present Smyrna alone carries on a larger 
foreign trade than the whole of Anatolia at the beginning of the century. 

Hence the balance seems decidedly to point at a general revival, which must 
tend to soften the sharp contrast now prevailing between the coast districts and the 
central plateaux. The locomotive is already beginning to compete with the 
100,000 camels engaged in the peninsular caravan trade, and as soon as the interior 
is opened up by more accessible highways, the prosperity of the maritime regions 
must overflow to the steppes now occupied chiefly by a few Yuruk nomad tribes. 

In the gradual work of transformation, to Smyrna rather than to Constanti- 
nople belongs the initiative. The railway which has its terminus at Scutari 
does not yet penetrate even into the Sakaria Valley, whereas the capital of Asiatic 
Ionia already possesses a network of lines extending eastwards into the Hermus, 
Cayster, and Meander basins, and creeping gradually up to the central plateaux. 
At the same time these lines, however useful in developing the local industries, can 



have but a secondary importance in the future trade "I the world. The great 
onal trunk line destined to connect India with Europe musl necessarily pass 
through Constantinople. The English, however, although masters <>t' India, are 
nut interested in the construction of this direct line, \\ Inch would 1"- commanded by 
the batteries of the Bosphorus. Its completion would also have the immediate 
consequence of giving the Central European states the advantage in their commi r- 
cial relations with the East. Hence the route preferred by Great Britain is that 
which, starting from some Mediterranean porl facing Cyprus, would have its 
terminus on the Persian Gulf, that Is, a basin commanded by her fleets. In any 
i 186, the commercial and industrial conquest of Anatolia is pregnant with 

Fig. 149. — Railways opened and projected in Asia Minor. 
Scale 1 : 11,000,000. 

QucV.«k^' ...^Kaca hia*ar IK- xj^/ ^KftTo^A^b 



. Ubatfa^ 


' ■' 


to 3,320 Feet. 

3,320 to 6,640 Feet. 6,640 Feet and upwards. 


Railways conceded. Railways projected. Boads projected. 
240 Miles. 

consequences affecting the political equilibrium of the world. In an administrative 
sense its unity maybe regarded as already secured. The Sultan's authority is more 
firmly established than ever. Everywhere the vassal or semi-independent princi- 
palities of tie , or "Chiefs of the Valleys," have been suppressed, and the 
organization of all the vilayets is uniform, although the inhabitants are still far 
from being fused in one nationality. Every town in Anatolia has at least four or 
Ave, of ten as many as twelve or fourteen "nations," each of which maintains 
relations with its fellow-countrymen or coreligionists in the provinces. Is it too 
much to hope that all these conflicting elements may be moulded into one nation, 
without the violent scenes of slaughter and disorder attending the " renovation" of 
European Turkey under Russian auspices ? 



YPRUS, having a total area of three thousand eight hundred square 
miles, is the largest island in the Mediterranean next to Sicily and 
Sardinia. It belongs geographically to Asia Minor, from which it 
is separated by far shallower waters than those flowing between it 
and the Syrian coast. Its hills also run in the same direction as 
those of Cilicia. In its flora and fauna, however, it is allied rather to Xorth Syria, 
while historically it is connected at once with both regions. Through the archi- 
pelago it was also brought within the sphere of Hellenic influences, and the religion, 
industries, and arts of the ancient Cypriote bear abundant traces of these various 
elements. But the people were sufficiently cultured to impart an original 
character to the germs derived from the surrounding lands. Easily accessible to 
the seafaring populations of Sidon and Crete, Cyprus was still too isolated to 
become a simple dependence of any of the neighbouring nations. From the earliest 
times its inhabitants appear as a people distinct from the other Hellenes. They 
possess a special dialect showing Kolian affinities, and even a peculiar writing 
system of a syllabic type, apjjarently related rather to that of the Hittites than to 
the Phoenician, unless it is to be traced to a cuneiform source. 

Politically also Cyprus often enjoyed a certain autonomy, and although subject 
successively to Egypt and Persia, it was never completely reduced by the great 
continental empires. Under Alexander it formed part of the Macedonian world, 
passing thence into the power of Rome and Byzantium. After the fall of 
Constantinople it became a separate kingdom, and for two hundred and fifty years 
it was ruled by the Lusignan family. From them it passed to the Venetians, who, 
after an occupation of a century, surrendered it in 1 o71 to the Turks. Since then it 
has continued to form officially a part of the Ottoman empire, although since 1878 
it is " administered " by England. For a great naval power the position of < lyprus 
is of great strategical importance, lying as it does at the entrance of a bay whence 
it commands both the Anatolian and Syrian coasts, while its eastern extremity is 
directed towards the vital point of Hither Asia, that i<. the great bend of the 
Euphrates, where all the main routes converge from Syria, Armenia, the Euxine, 

::i I 


and Persian fiulf. But the island is -till too destitute of resources to be otherwise 
a valuable acquisition, and for many years must remain a burden on the imperial 
revenue. Roads, harbours, dockyards, fortresses, and arsenals have all to be 
restored, and the topographical survey has only jusl been begun. 

Moi NTAIN8 Wl> RlA l RS. 

The chief mountain mass of the Olympus, now more generally known as the 
Troodos, attains in the south-west an altitude of about 6,600 feet, and is streaked with 

Fig. 160.— Cyprus. 

Scale 1 : 



to 650 650 to 1,600 1,600 to 3,200 

feet. I'eet. 8,300 Feet. Feet and 


to 320 320 to 1,600 1.600 to 
i'eet. 8,200 Feet. 

Feet and 


til Mi!.*. 

snow for the greater part of the year. East of the culminating point other peaks, 
such as the " Two Brothers," and " Makheras," rise to heights of 4,000 and 5,000 
feet, while the headland of Stavro Vuno (Santa Croce), although only 2,300 feet 
high, owing to its isolated position on the most frequented part of the coast, was 
long regarded as the true "Olympus." Here formerly stood a famous temple of 
Venus, since replaced by a Benedictine monastery. The eruptive rocks of this 
Bjstem, bursting through the Tertiary limestones and marls at their base, have 
variously modified the lower strata, and on both sides are found mineral deposits, 
especially copper, which bears the name of the island. Iron mines also occur here 
and there, but like those of copper, all have long been abandoned. 


The northern part of the island, terminating north-eastwards in the long 
peninsular of Karpasos, the " Ox-tail " of the ancients, is completely tilled by a 
range of mountains quite distinct from the south-western highlands. Cyprus, in 
fact consists geologically of two islands, separated by an old marine channel now- 
forming the plain of Mesaria (Mesorea), the Makaria, or " Happy " of the ancients. 
The northern chain forms a crescent nearly 100 miles long, but very narrow, and 
running close to the coast. It culminates towards the western extremity in Mount 
Elias, about 3,400 feet, falling to 2,000 feet in the Kantara peak at the neck of the 
Karpasos peninsular. To the whole range Gaudry has given the name of Cerines, 
from the town at the northern issue of the only carriage-road crossing it. This 
pass might easily be held by a handful of resolute men against a whole army. 

The Pedias, the largest river in Cyprus, flows from Olympus for over 00 miles 
north-eastwards to the Gulf of Famagusta. But notwithstanding its numerous 
affluents it is not a perennial stream, being almost completely dry in summer. The 
few lakes also are mere saline lagoons without any outflow, mostly old bays or 
inlets now separated by sandy strips from the sea, such as those of Larnaka and 
Limassol, which annually yield from twenty Ave to thirty thousand tons of salt. 
For agricultural purposes the perennial springs at the foot of the hills or in the 
upland valleys are of more impotance than the so-called " rivers," and many towns 
owe their origin to such sources of suppby. They are less abundant in the central 
highlands than in the northern coast range, where all take their rise between the 
altitudes of 500 and 700 feet. To explain their existence in such a comparatively 
arid region the natives suppose that they flow from the Cilician highlands in 
submarine channels across the intervening strait at a depth of over 1,000 feet 
below the surface of the Mediterranean. From this source is fed the canal, miles 
long, which supplies Larnaka. 

Climate — Flora and Fauna. 

Owing to its position between the Syrian and Cilician hills, the climate of 
Cyprus is continental rather than maritime. In winter it is exposed to the cold 
winds from the Anatolian plateaux, causing snow to fall even on the plains. The 
rainfall is abundant, especially during the three last months of the year, when the 
rivers overflow their banks and often interrupt the communications. But the 
change is very sudden from winter to summer, when the sky remains cloudless for 
months together, vegetation becomes burnt up, and the temperature rises at 
Larnaka to 90° F. in August. During this season malaria about the lagoon 
districts on the coast is very prevalent, and the plains to the foot of the hills are 
wrapped in dangerous exhalations. At times the winds from the mainland waft 
across the sea swarms of locusts (stauronatus cruciatus\ which settle on the northern 
coastlands and devour all green things. Till the middle of the present century the 
island was wasted by this scourge about once every two years, but since then 
precautions have been taken, by which the evil has been greatly abated. 

The local flora is very rich, comprising over one thousand phanerogamous 

348 BOOTH WESTEEN .\si \ 

species, and including marly all the plants of Crete and the archipelago, as well as 
many others belonging to the neighbouring continent. Hm there arc only four 
indigenous, amongst which is the "elder-leafed oak." The most common forest- 
tree is the Caramanian pine; and the cypress, which takes its name from the island, 
still grows wild in the eastern districts. The ko/>/«r x Erom which according to 
some authorities Cyprus has been named, seems to be either the lawtonia, Erom 
whose leaves hennah is extracted, or the cistut creticus, which flourishes between 
the altitudes of 2,000 and 5,000 feet, and which distils tin ladanum balsam, an 
odoriferous resin highly est* emed by the ancients. 

Willi animals have almost entirely disappeared. The oris cyprius, or Cyprian 
mouflon, is still met in the rocky uplands; wild cats are numerous in the forests, 
and the wild boar and venomous snakes infest the plains. The western districts 
about Cape Epiphani are said to be frequented by horses, asses, and oxen which 
have reverted to the wild state. Since the British occupation game is protected by 
a tax on hunting. 


The inhabitants of Cyprus comprise the most diverse elements — Greeks, Turks, 
Syrians, Arabs, and others — from the surrounding lands. They are grouped not so 
much according to race as according to speech, and especially religion. Tho 
Greeks, constituting four-fifths of the population, are all Cypriots speaking the 
peculiar local Hellenic dialect and conforming to the rites of the orthodox Church. 
All Mohammedans, even those of Cypriot speech, are classed as Turks; and the so- 
called Linobambaki form an intermediate group, outwardly Moslem, but who 
baptise their children, and in the family circle call themselves Christians. Ab else- 
where in the Levant, the Greeks constitute the active element, although by their 
Hellenic kindred regarded as of a somewhat dull and passive type. The Cypriots 
have never taken part in the patriotic movement of the other islanders, preferring 
to live peacefully, and yielding ready obedience to their successive Mohammedan 
and ( Ihristian rulers. 

Formerly the Maronites were numerous in the northern districts, where they 
founded several settlements on the slopes of the coast range, and especially in the 
Karpasos peninsula; but the great majority have gradually been assimilated to 
the Hellenes, while others have become Mohammedans. But a Maronitc com- 
munity of about 500 souls still survives in the Kormakiti promontory, at the 
western extremity of the Cerines range. A few thousand negro slaves, introduced 
at various times, have merged in the Moslem population, while the Armenians, 
Levantines, Jews, and Europeans of every nation who have immigrated since the 
British occupation, remain mostly speculators rather than colonists. But they 
have hitherto done little to increase the resources of the island. Agriculture and 
the industries are in the same rudimentary state as under Turkish rule, and nine- 
tcnths of the soil still remains untilled. Cotton, sugar, dates, wine, and other 
produce have greatly fallen off since the Lusignan and Venetian epochs. The 



whole island, to an altitude of 4,000 feet, might be converted into a vast vineyard 
yielding magnificent vintages, whereas the present annual production never exceeds 
550,000, and sometimes falls to 350,000, gallons. Next to wine, cereals, and olives, 
the chief agricultural product is the carob-bean partly exported to Russia and 
partly used in the local distilleries. The whole annual trade of the island varies at 
present from about £420,000 to £600,000. 

Topography of Cyprus. 

Levkosia, or Nicosia, capital of Cyprus, is strongly situated on a slight eminence 
in the Mesorea plain, at about equal distances from Morf u bay in the west and 
Famasusta and Larnaka in the east. It thus forms the natural centre of the two 
maritime zones, and also coin- 

Fig. 151. — Nicosia. 
Scale 1 : 55,000. 

municatcs easily with the north 
coast through the pass over the 
Cerines range. Its Venetian 
wall, a regular polygon about 3 
miles in circuit, and flanked by 
eleven bastions, is still in a good 
state of repair, but the English 
garrison is encamped on the 
slopes of the neighbouring Mount 
Mac/icera, above the fever zone. 
The village of Bali, where for- 
merly stood the country seat of 
the Lusignan king's, marks the 
site of the ancient Idalium, which 
has yielded some Cypriot inscrip- 
tions, besides the famous bronze 
tablet now in the Paris National 
Library, and the bilingual Phoe- 
nician and Cypriot monument 

which gave George Smith the key to the local dialect. Here also M. de Cesnola 
explored over fifteen thousand tombs of the vast necropolis, which yielded a mag- 
nificent collection, now in the New York Metropolitan Museum. Other treasures 
have been recovered from Athieno, farther west, where stood the temple of 
Aphrodite Golgia, in former times visited by pilgrims from every quarter. 

The harbour of Kerynia (Ghirneh or Cerines\ (he northern seaport of Nicosia, 
is now a mere creek some 10 or 12 feet deep, overlooked by the picturesque castle 
of the Lusignan sovereigns. Other Lusignan strongholds crown the neighbouring 
heights, and some of the rocks near the ancient Lapctlios and the modern convent 
of Akteroperithi have been excavated within and without, so as to form gigantic 
towers with inner galleries and terraced palaces. 

During the Hellenic period, the chief port on the east coast was Salamis, 

Eof.Gr 35" SB 

55" £3 

1,100 Yards. 



whence the Venetians drew (he blocks of stone used in erecting (he formidable 
ramparts of Fltmagtuta, the ancient Amdkkoatm, that \a,Amta Khadasta,€he " Great 
Goddess" of the Assyrians, some o miles farther south. The citadel of Fama- 
gusta is little more than a picturesque ruin ; but the town walls are as intact as on 
the day when, in L571, the Venetians capitulated to the Turk. The harbour has 
silted up: but north of it stretches a roadstead ov< r a mile long, sheltered from the 
east by a chain of reefs and sandhankfl running parallel with the coast. This 

Kg. 1)2. — Lahnaka and Kama* 
Scale 1 : OtO.OOO. 



•E . cf L'ree«v».ch 


to 32 Feet. 32 to 320 Feet. 320 Feet and upwards. 

12 Miles. 

anchorage, which has a mean depth of 50 feet, is probably destined to become in 
British hands a second Malta in the Levant. 

Laniaka, which at present almost monopolises the foreign trade of the island,* 
-ists of two distinct towns, the Marina, or new quarter, fringing the beach, and 
the old quarter, over half a mile farther inland. Southwards stretch the extensive 
lagoons or salines, which yield a large and almost inexhaustible supply of salt. 
The old Greek port has almost completely disappeared, and the shipping now 
anchors in the roadstead. Marina stands on the site of the old Phoenician town of 
Kittini, or Kition (Citiurn), where was found the precious Assyrian bas-relief of 

• Shipping of Laniaka, about 200,000 tons yearly ; exchanges, £600,000. 



King Sargon II. For centuries Kittini was regarded as a Syrian city, whence 
Zeno, a native of this place, is spoken of by Cicero as a "Phoenician." 

Liiitisso, or Limassol, on the semicircular beach terminating southwards at Gape 
Gatto, ranks as the second seaport in the island. Its exports consist chiefly of salt, 
grapes, raisins, brandy, and the famous Kolossi wine, of a total yearly value of 
about £160,000. Palwo-Limhso, about 8 miles farther east, stands on the site of 
Amathos, or Amathonce, the Phoenician Hamath, where Astarte and Melkart were 

Fig. 153.— Kbrynia. 

worshipped with human sacrifices. The ancient Curium, lying on a rocky eminence 
west of the Akrotiri headland, almost unknown till the year 1870, has since then 
yielded the most intrinsically valuable as well as the most artistic treasures in the 
whole island. Here Cesnola has found a perfect storehouse of costly Assyrian, 
Egyptian, Phoenician, and Greek objects, some imported by traders, others <\ idently 
fabricated on the spot. Yet still more extensive treasures had formerly been 
accumulated in the district of Paphos, on the south-west coast. Of the ancient 



temple of Venus, which stood on a lofty eminence visible far Beawards, little remains 
but a few fragments. But t ho surface is in some places strewn with sculptured 
blocks, broken walls, tombs, and underground openings. The village of BnJ'n 
(Papbo) on the coast is even -till visited by the Cypriot women, and although the 
sea-foam i- no longer consecrated to Venus, the sea itself rank- w ith St. George and 
St. Lazarus as a chief patron of the island. 

In virtue of the treaty concluded in 1878, England undertakes the exclusive 
administration of Cyprus, handing over to the Porte a yearly sum of about £90,000. 
The revenue varies from £160,000 to £200,000, and in lssj the expenditure 
amounted to £300,000. The English commissioner has full powers, although 

Fig. 154 — Limassol and Akrotiki Peninsular. 
Scale 1 : 290,000. 

[. rf.C-eenw.c* 5g'55- 



80 to 160 

1G0 to 320 320 Feet 
Feet. and upwards 

fi Miles. 

assisted by a council of eighteen, six chosen by the Government, and twelve elected 
by a limited suffrage. Of the latter nine are Christians, three Mohammedans, and 
English and Greek are the official languages. The Porte retains the waste lands 
and forests, that is, over three-fourths of the island ; but the British Government 
enjoys the right of forced purchase, while on the other hand engaging to 
restore Cyprus to Turkey when the Russians retire from their recent conquests 
in Armenia. Meantime they hold the island with a garrison of 600 men. 

The Archbishop of the Cypriot Church is independent of the patriarch of Con- 
stantinople, and enjoys a large income, while the rural clergy are mostly so poor 
that they are obliged to support themselves by manual labour. 



^ALESTI ivp _ Tg wSECTIOl 

Seal* of Eiigbsh Statute Milo* 



Scale of English Statute MDes 




HE narrow zone of habitable land skirting the eastern Mediterranean 
seaboard between the Gulf of Alexandretta and Egypt, forms a well- 
limited geographical region. East of the Aleppo basin the 
frontier is distinctly marked by the course of the Euphrates, and 
east of the Dead Sea an arid mountain barrier merges southwards 
in an almost uninhabited wilderness, terminating in a regular triangle between the 
two gulfs of Akabah and Suez. But the whole region, which stretches from the 
Amanus to Sinai for about 600 miles north and south, with a mean breadth of 90 
miles, is itself divided into several sections, differing in their relief, climate, and 
historic evolution. Such are in the north the basin of the Orontes, in the centre the 
Jordan Valley and conterminous lauds, in the south the Sinai peninsular. 

Historic Retrospect. 

A great role in the history of mankind has been played by the sections compris- 
ing Syria and Palestine, which lie between the sea and the desert, and which are 
traversed by the natural routes connecting the Nile and Mesopotamian basins. In 
remote ages, when these regions enjoyed a more abundant rainfall, more easy and 
direct communications may have existed between the Persian Gulf and the Nib- 
delta. But throughout historic times the space lying between the Lower Kuphrates 
and the Trans- Jordan highlands has been a wilderness intersected only by inter- 
mittent streams and inhabited exclusively by nomad tribes. A semicircle of 
arable tracts and towns sweeps round the sands and steppes from Bagdad to 
Damascus, and this direction has been followed by all the great movements of the 
surrounding peoples. 

The importance of the Syrian coast as an overland route was soon enhanced by 
its commercial supremacy cm the high seas. From the remotest times the 
Phoenicians appear as gnat navigators, a fact which has tended to obscure their 
essentially agricultural character. Yet Canaan is described as a land "flowing in 
milk and honey," and it was to find markets for their superfluous produce that the 
Tyrians and Sidonians turned their attention to navigation. Their grandest 


architectural remains arc monolithic wine and oil-presses, cisterns, millstones, 
reservoirs Eor water, oil, or corn hewn out of the live ruck. Later on came the 
great hydraulic works, artificial harbours and breakwaters, of which scarcely a 
vestige is new to be seen. The form of the coast, where once flourished the Famous 
cities of Tyre, Sidon, Berytus, Byblos, Aradus, has been modified by the silting 
sands, or possibly by changes of Level. Nevertheless, altera lapse of three thousand 
years some of these Phoenician seaports have again become busy commercial 

Their maritime supremacy once established, the Phoenicians soon monopolised 
the carrying trade of the East. The Mesopotaniian nations necessarily forwarded 
their wares through the Syrian ports, and Egypt In t— 11'. possessing no timber for 
the construction of vessels, was fain to effect its exchanges by means of her 
Phoenician neighbours. The merchants of Tyre and Sidon jealously preserved the 
magnificent cedar forests which supplied them with building materials. They also 
carefully preserved the secrets of their distant discoveries, and the true source of 
the metal-, amber, ivory supplied by them to the eastern potentates Long remained 
unknown to the ancients. On the other hand, by disseminating a knowledge of 
letters, they constantly enlarged the circle of civilisation of which they were the 
centre. Kven the tribes of Israel, although confined to the interior, contributed by 
their migrations to the diffusion of culture throughout the narrow- /one of the 
Syrian seaboard. Reaching Palestine from Egypt, and transplanted thence to 
Babylonia and the Iranian uplands, the Jews reflect in their genius the 
characteristics of the peoples amongst whom they sojourned. As trader- settled in 
every part of the Mediterranean world, they participated in the commercial inheri- 
tance of Tyre and Sidon. In the same way ( Iraro-Konian influences have 1 n 

superimposed on those of Egypt, Chaldaea Persia, and Arabia; and although the 
geometrical centre- of Europe, Asia, and Africa lies beyond the limits of this region, 
no other land of transition is more important in the historic evolution of the 
Mediterranean peoples than the highway whoso chief stations are Damascus ami 

In the history of religious thought Jerusalem takes a pre-eminent position. 
Towards Golgotha the Christian turns to worship a crucified God : the country 
formerly inhabited by the twelve tribes is a "Holy Land;" Nazareth and 
Bethlehem, Lake Tiberias and Mount Tabor, the Pool of Sichem and Mount Olivet 
are in their eye- the most hallowed spots on earth. Here they seek the origin of 
their cult, and here they look forward to the appearance of that " .Ww Jerusalem " 
in which human suffering -hall cease to be. Vet the Christian system, which had 
never taken firm root in the land of its birth, rapidly disappeared before the 
advance of [slam, and the protracted efforts of the crusaders to rescue the Holy 
Land from the grasp of the - Infidel " ended in failure. 

Like the other provinces of Asiatic Turkey, Syria is a land covered with ruins, 
on whose sites no new and flourishing cities have arisen. The wilderness has 
encroached on the arable zone, and even the most frequented highways have now 
to traverse many solitudes. Nevertheless a great part of this region has been 



completely explored from the geographical standpoint. The whole of Palestine, 
for a space of 0,000 square miles this side Jordan, hu< been trigonometrically 
surveyed, and the work of the English cartographists is now being extended to the 
land of Moab east of that river. Three-fourths of the old names occurring in the 
Bible, in Josephus, and the Talmud have been identified, and most even of the 
Canaanite terms preceding the Israelitish settlement have been recovered. By 
means of the Kamak hieroglyphics Mariette has been enabled to map out the land 
of Canaan at the period of the battle of Meghiddo, fought over :J,700 years ago. 

Fig. 155. — Passes op the Axanvb. 

Scale 1 : 260,000. 


80 to 160 

160 Feet and 

. fi Milrs. 

In the north the Libanon has also been carefully studied by the French expedition 
of 1860 and 1862, and the surveys are advancing along the lines of the projected 
railway towards the Euphrates. 

With the exception of a few valleys in the Libanon, no part of Syria can be 
said to be adequately peopled, regard being had to the fertility of the soil. The 
whole population of the region stretching from Cilicia to Sinai, which three 
thousand years ago supported at least ten million inhabitants, seems at present 
scarcely to exceed a million and a half. 

:;:,i; 801 111 Wl>l BEN ASIA. 

Bioi vi m\ Ranges. 

The Akma-dagh (Amanita) range, which riaea immediately south of Aiexandretta 
Bay, may is many respects be regarded as forming part of the Anatolian orographic 
Bystem. Ii is attached to the Ghiaur-dagh by ;i hilly plateau containing the 
Ghiaur-gol, or " Lake of the Infidel," and its mean direction is uorth-east and south- 
west, parallel with the Cilician Taurus and the Anti-Taurus. It> highest peaks 
scarcely exceed 6,500 Eeet, bul its seaward slopes arc very steep, and the coasl 
mute is carried over precipitous spin's Eorming headlands along the seahoard At 
Portella, north of Aiexandretta, the remains of a white marble gateway at the 
entrance of a defile, enlarged to a carriage-road by Justinian, are locally known as 
the " Pillars of Jonah," this being the spot where, according to the local Legend, the 
1'rophet was east ashore by the " greal tish." Farther south the rugged Amanus 
and its southern continuation, the Jehel Musa, are avoided by the main route, which 
runs directly through the Beilan Pass, or "Syrian G-ates," down to the plains of 
Antiochia. This extensive tract, through which the Orontes winds seawards, is the 
true portal of Syria, whose geographical limits are here clearly marked by the 

river, the Lake of Antiochia, and its eastern affluents. 

South of Antiochia the Ansarieh hills culminate in the pyramidal Jebel-Akra, 
or Casius (5,900 Eeet), at the mouth id' the ((routes. This was one < it the sacred 
mountains of the Phoenicians, and lor the (in-eks another Olympus, whence Jove 
contemplated the advancing dawn in the east, while the western world was still 
wrapped in gloom. Southwards the gently undulating chalky crests of the 
Ansarieh range tail in many places to a height of 3,000 Eeet, hut are everywhere of 
difficult access, owing to the countless gorges intersecting them in all directions. 
Eastwards tiny are separated by the Orontes from tin' hills fringing the desert, 
while their southern extremity is skirted by the Nahr-el-Kebir, rising like the 
Orontes on the eastern slo] I Lihauon. 

Thf. Libanon \m> Anti-Li banon. 

South of the Nahr-el-Kebir Valley begins the lofty coast range of tin- Libanon, 
which runs uniformly north-east and south-west, parallel with the Jebcl-esh-Shark, 
or Anti-Libanon, from which it is separated by the intervening plains of Coele- 
Syria. The Long unbroken crest of Libanon, blue in summer, silvery white in 
winter and spring, presents an imposing aspect seawards, die atmospheric vapours 
lending to the distant hills an aerial transparency and softness, to which solidity is 
added by their hold outlines and rugged slopes. A near view is less pleasing, the 
long harrier presenting in its entire length of some 90 miles nothing hut yellow 
treeless summits and monotonous valleys. In the extreme south the valleys are 
more fertile and better tilled, and here the traveller occasionally meets a few 
picturesque landscapes, especially in spring, when the higher elevations are still 
glittering with a pink or white glint in the solar rays. 

The Libanon highlands consist mainly of dolomites, coarse limestones, marbles, 



sandstones, and marls, pierced at innumerable points, without being disturbed, by 
protruding basalts. The cliffs are broken by profound crevasses running mostly 
north and south, or east and west, and breaking the system into a number of distinct 
groups. This disposition of the uplands explains the relative independence maiij** 
tained bv their inhabitants. In the very midst of a Mussulman land the Libanon 
highlanders have for centuries preserved their national religion almost unmodified. 
Nor had they any mineral treasures to tempt the greed of foreign conquerors. 

Libanon is in Hebrew synonymous with " Milk," that is, the " "White Moun- 
tains," although nowhere reaching the zone of permanent snows. The loftiest 
peak at the northern extremity scarcely exceeds 10,600 feet, and not more than 

Pig. 156. — Beikit Hills. 
Scale 1 : 300,000. 

L , of b r ee^wich 35*50 


32 to 160 


lfiO Feet 
and upwards. 

three others rise to 10,000 feet. The great carriage road constructed by a French 
company between Beirut and Damascus attains 6,000 feet, and the mean elevation 
is slightly inferior to that of the Pyrenees. Eur the higher temperature explains 
the relatively small extent of the snowfields and the present absence of glaciers. 
The limestone rocks are pierced by caverns, some running tor milts into the heart 
of the mountain, and containing animal remains as well as traces of human 
habitat inns. The slopes facing eastwards are far more arid anil destitute of springs 
than the opposite side, which receives a considerable amount of moisture from the 
Mediterranean. Here the climate and vegetable zones are distinguished by special 
names. Thus the coast region, the Canaan of the Hebrews, is known as the Sabil, 



a narrow fertile strip, where stood the great trading cities "I' Phoenicia. Above it 
stretches the Wusut or middle zone, less densely peopled bul still studded with 
villages, and yielding crops "I' tobacco, cereals, ami potatoes. The Wusut, which 
in Borne places is clothed with conifers and other forest-trees, is succeeded about the 
altitude <>t' !,<"»<• feet liy iheJurd, a barren upland region exposed to tierce gales 
and avalanches. < lultivated tracts occur in the sheltered dells and basins as high 
as ii,.j00 feet, and here and there occur clumps of gnarled oak, the turpentine-tree, 
wild pear, and juniper often attaining a gigantic size. In this upper region grow 
the famous cedars, at an altitude of over 6,500 feel near a pass south of the Jebel- 
Makmal. Formerly a glacier descending from the surrounding height filled a 

Fig. 157.— The Freni h Koad. 
Scale 1 : 1,800,000. 


811 to S20 


VM Feet 
and upwards. 

1-' Miles. 

Cirque at this spot, and the mots of the cedars lie embedded in its terminal moraine. 
Since the sixteenth century, when they still numbered twenty-five, the really 
gigantic specimens have been reduced to five, surrounded by a few hundreds of 
moderate Bize. 

Eastwards the Libanon falls in abrupt escarpments down to the longitudinal 
valley of Co le-Syria, or " Hollow Syria," which forms the most regular section of 
the depression running north and south from the Lake of Antiochia to the Dead Sea 
and Gulf of Akabah. The Bekaa, or " Mulberry Valley," as Cade-Syria is now 
(■ailed, has a double slope, draining northwards through the < 'routes, southwards 
through the Leontes, or Nahr-el-Leitana, the almost imperceptible water-parting 
standing at an elevation of 3,900 feet, while the mean elevation of the valley may 


be estimated at about 3,000 feet. It is strewn with marshes, remnants of an old 
lake, which formerly flooded the space between Libanon and Anti-Libanon. 

The Anti-Libanon presents on the whole a remarkable analogy to t lie -parallel 
western range. Composed of the same limestone rocks, covered with the .same red 
soil of glacial origin, it is equally arid and bare in its northern section, equally 
varied with fertile tracts southwards. The Sheikh-el-Jebel, its highest point, also 
faces the culminating point of the Libanon ; and although its mean altitude is about 
1,000 feet less,* it is distinguished even by more picturesque outlines, bolder crests, 
more savage gorges, more vivid tints, and striking contrasts. In the eastern range, 
however, it is not the cedar or pine, but the poplar, which enriches every hamlet in 
this otherwise almost treeless region. Eastwards the Anti-Libanon falls in 
terraces towards the desert, and in the south it is intersected by the deep valley of 
the Barada. Just below this point the range is crossed at an elevation of 4,330 
feet by the French route connecting Damascus with the coast at Beirut. 

Hermon- — Hills of Galilee — Mount Carmel. 

The broad opening utilised by this route separates Anti-Libanon from Mount 
Hermon, which may almost be regarded as its southern prolongation. Like 
Libanon, Hermon is a holy mountain, where Christian shrines have everywhere 
replaced the old pagan sanctuaries, Elias, Jonah, or Saint George thus succeeding 
to the Baal, Adonis, or Eliun of the ancient Semite peoples. The mountain itself 
•was a god, and all the temples of the surrounding district are found to face its chief 
summit, which rises in three peaks 9,400 feet above the Mediterranean. Of all the 
Syrian mountains, Hermon is the most densely wooded, groves and even small strips 
of forest clothing its basalt slopes. Some 00 miles south-east of Hermon stands the 
volcanic Jebel-Hauran, whose highest crest has an elevation of 6,170 feet. Its 
main axis runs nearly due south and north, terminating in this direction in rusrsred 
escarpments surmounted by the Tell-abu-Tumeis (0,320 feet). Within a space of 
G miles are grouped four other extinct cones, whence formerly flowed the vast lava 
streams of the Argob north-westwards, in the direction of Damascus. The thick- 
ness of the molten masses overlying the mails and limestones, the Lcja, as this 
district is now called, has been estimated at 600 or 700 feet. 

The Safa, or "Naked Mountain," is another group of extinct volcanoes, lying 
on the shore of the old lacustrine basin which skirted the east side of the Syrian 
uplands. The dreary and savage region covered with the black lavas ejected from 
these cones well deserves the name of Trachonitis, or the " Lugged," given to it by 
the ancients. It seems to have undergone little or no change since the time when 
the burning masses cooled down into all sorts of strange and fantastic forms. In 
its widest extent the Safa covers an area of some 500 square miles, its cones rising 
1,500 to 2,000 feet above the surrounding plains, and 3.500 above sea level. Some 

* Chief Summits of the Libanon and Anti-Libanon: — 


. 10, GOO feet 


. 8,900 feet 


. 10,250 „ 


8,350 .. 

Zahr-el-Kazib . 

. 10,130 „ 


. ;,s3o „ 



clayey tracts, whore a little moisture is collected daring rainy seasons, limit the 
base .if this burnt-up region north-westwards m the direction of Damascus, and in 
the south-easl towards the equator; bul elsewhere most of i he surrounding districts 
are covered with lavas and scoriae. Such is the desert of Era, which towards the 
south-west separates Safe from ffauran. Still farther smith Btretches the desert of 
Ilarra. or the " Burnl Land," a circular plain of impalpable sands accumulated 
round a loft v central black crag. Bo fine are the sands of this dreaded region, thai 
according to the Bedouins, horses, camels, and other animals sink in it, as if it were 

Fig. 158 — Jebel Safa. 

Scale 1 : 1,340,000. 

, » 


s T ■* y r B 

■'i V 

Gatf/'r efffawvt 

f if 



57*00 E ofGre- 

C Miles. 

a liquid mass. After heavy rains the surface becomes a paste too weak to bear the 
weight of a camel. 

The lower Leontes, or Nahr-Kasimiyeh, forms the southern limit of the 
Libanon proper, although the Palestine highlands stretching thence southwards 
between the headwaters of the Jordan and the coast may be regarded as belonging 
to the same orographic system. But in this confused labyrinth of Galilean hills 
and valleys it is difficult to discover any regular order, except perhaps in the e 
where the ridge skirting the depression of the Upper Jordan runs in the same axis 
us the Libanon. From this ridge several others branch off, mainly in the direction 
from east to west, and are themselves connected by secondary lateral chains. The 
Jebel-Jsxmuk (3,950 feet), forming the culminating point of the Galilean high- 
lands, rises north-west of Safed on the water-parting between the Jordan and the 
.Mediterranean. But here the most venerated peak is Tabor (Jebel-Tor), a nearly 



isolated mass rising to a height of scarcely 1,900 feet south of Xazareth. Its 
position on the edge of the gnat plain of Esdraelon, traversed by the Xahr-el- 
Mukattah and its affluents, formerly imparted a certain strategic importance to 
Tabor, on which are still seen the remains of mediaeval fortifications, themselves 
preceded by still older Roman and Jewish works. A legend dating from the fourth 
century transfers the scene of the Transfiguration from Hermon to Tabor, on 
which three churches and three monasteries were erected in the sixth century in 
honour of the three tents, which Peter here proposed to pitch for Jesus, Moses and 

South of Galilee the hills are almost completely interrupted by the broad and 

Fig. 159.— The Zerin Depression. 
Scale 1 : 1,190,000. 

i hi ■ | 'ii | ii m mW/i 

El Afoul.h 

' ±:^^MM 

E .■oT*Lreen 

55* S5' 

Below the level of the Mediterranean. 

. 6 Miles. 

fertile plain of Merj-ibn-Amir (Meghiddo, Esdraelon, or Jezrael), stretching south- 
east and north-west, with an average width of 15 miles, and sloping very gently 
towards the Mediterranean. The fall is much more precipitous towards the Jordan, 
where the Zerin depression, some 400 feet above the sea, has been selected as the 
most convenient point through which to cut the canal, by which some eccentric 
English engineers propose to connect the Gulf of Ana with that of Akaba in the 
Red Sea. Dividing Palestine into two distinct section-;, and commanding both 
slopes of the country, Esdraelon was formerly a great battlefield between tiil» 
armies. Here Jews and Canaanites, Saracens and Crusaders, frequently met in 
deadly strife, and here, according to the expounders of Revelations, is to be fought 


the final battle of Arniaghcddon, which is to Becure the empire of the world to the 

The semi-elliptical Bay of Acra is limited southwards by the headland of Mount 
Carmel, which Eorms the seaward extremity of the Jebel-Mar-Elias. This range, 
consisting mainly of limestones, is the mosl regular in Palestine, running due 
north-west and south-east from the coast to the low pass separating it from the 
Samarian uplands. Eastwards it tails abruptly down to the Bsdraelon plain, and 
slopes gently to the Mediterranean, maintaining throughout a mean elevation of l.iniO 
or 1,200 tVet. It culminates in the centre with Mount Carmel proper (1,830 feet), 
that is, the " Orchard," so named from the flowering shrubs and fruit-trees clothing 
its upper slopes. The more rugged headland was formerly the seal of an oracle 
visited by Pythagoras and consulted by Vespasian. Here, according to the Jewish 
tradition, took place that contest between Eliaa and the prophets of Baal which 
symbolises the everlasting warfare between the local gods of Syria and Palestine. 
Above the " Cave of Elias " now stands a sumptuous convent of recent date. 

Qilboa — Trans- Jokdan Uplands. 

South-east of Carmel the Jebel-Fokuah, that is, the hills of Gilboa, form the 
commencement of the central range of Palestine, which runs mainly parallel with 
the Jordan and Mediterranean. Consisting of chalk cliffs interrupted here and 
there by eruptive basalts, it presents monotonous unpicturesque outlines, but 
encloses some extremely fertile valleys. Its axis, which here forms the water- 
parting, runs twice as near the Jordan as the .Mediterranean, its geographical 
position thus explaining tin' incessant antagonism between the western lowlands, 

with their civilised populati and the uplands occupied by the rude inhabitants of 

Jadaea. In these uplands the crests have a mean altitude of 2,000 to 2,500 
feet, while Khal and < Sarizim, the two famous peaks overlooking the plain of Sichem. 
exceed :{,(M)() feet, and the whole system culminates in the Tell-Asur, rising north of 
Jerusalem to a height of nearly 3,400 feet. Farther south the hills gradually fall in 
the direction of the Sinai peninsular, where t he y merge in the rugged plateau of 

Like those of Palestine proper, the Trans-Jordan highlands consist of a 
crevassed tableland from 2,500 to 3,000 feet high, seldom presenting the aspect 
of a distinct range. East of the Dpper Jordan the plateaux of Jaulan (Gaulanitis), 
have the appearance of hills only along their western escarpments, which fall in 
terraces down to Lakes lluleh and Tiberias. These uplands are broken into unequal 
sections by the channels of the Yarmuk and its affluents in the north, and south- 
wards by the Jabok torrent and the Mojib (Anion), draining to the Dead Sea. 
Bast of the Ghor, properly so-called, that is, the Jordan Valley between Lake 
Tiberias and the Dead Sea, the Jobel-Ajlun, or heights of Galaad, present towards 
the river a series of fertile terraces covered here and there with groves of oak and 
other forest-trees, and in the depressions yielding in wet seasons rich crops of 
excellent cereals. East of the Dead Sea the escarpments are more abrupt, and 




Port Stad 


,,,, ^g ^ 


7Nj o/Motts \ 

\ 's 





/) «p th a 

O to SI A#r 31 to ;tf O ISO to .If J? o to StOo MOO * apmrda 

1 -S.3I5.000 




vegetation becomes rarer on the slopes and plateaux of El-Belka, or Land of Moab 
and Ammon, as this region is more generally called. On the whole the Trans- 
Jordan highlands are more elevated than those of Palestine. The Jebel-Osha, or 
Mount Osea, nearly opposite the Tell-Asur, has a height of 3,520 feet, and a summit 
in Moab 3,900 feet, while farther south the hills skirting the Wed-Arabah and 
merging in the Midian uplands rise to 4,000 feet. Of all the Trans-Jordan peaks 

Fig. 160. — Pen-insular of Sinai — Ain--el-Huderah. 

the most famous, although not the highest, is the Jebel-Xeba, traditionally supposed 
to be the Mount Xcbo whence Moses comtemplated the promised land. 

The Sixai Highlands. 

The Sinaitic orographic system is clearly separated from that of Palestine, the 
uplands of Arabia Petrsea consisting mainly of irregular masses from 1,500 to 2,000 
feet high, broken by broad ravines into distinct groups. The region lying between 



the Sue/ Canal ;m<l the Arabah depression forme, roughly speaking, a plane inclined 
towards the Mediterranean, and terminating abruptly southwards in the Jebel-et- 
Till, which consists of two ranges converging at a right angle, and facing in the 
same direction as the Etas-Mohammed at the apex of the triangular peninsular. 
Some of the summits in the Jebel-el- Tib. are over 3,000 feel high, and tin- whole 

Fig. 161. — Mount Sf.ihial. 
la I : 55,000. 

. 2,200 Yards. 

chain is separated from the southern plateau of Arabia Petraea by the broad beds 
of the Wad-el-Ain, Ain-el-Huderah, Wad-Nesb, Wady-Feiran, and other mostly 
dry watercourses draining easl to the Gulf of Akabah, wesl to that of Suez. 

The hills skirting the Red Sea, west of the Jebel-et-Tih, consist of monotonous 
chalk masses, which arc replaced in the south by the arid granite, gneiss, and 
porphyry highlands of Sinai proper. Many of these formations abound in iron 



and copper ores, and in turquoises, which are difficult to work, owing to the lack of 
fuel and of means of transport. Yet the copper beds in the Magarah Valley are 
often visited by the Bedouins in search of the turquoise, which is supposed to 
dispel evil influences, to procure- the favour of princes, to ensure victory, or 
dissipate dreams of ill omen. From the earliest historic times the Egyptians drew 
their supplies of copper and mineral dyes from Magarah, and here the polished 
walls of porphyry hear well-preserved hieroglyphic inscriptions, which are supposed 
to he the very oldest written documents in the world. In these rocky archives are 

Fig. 162.— Mouxt Sinai. 
Scale 1 : 65,000. 

2,200 Yards. 

recorded the names of Snefru, first of the Pharaohs, Shufu (Cheops), builder of the 
Great Pyramid. Ramses II., father of Menephta, during whose reign the Israelites 
escaped from Egypt. The written history of the Pharaohs thus comprises a period 
of over fifteen hundred years; and in the neighbouring Wed-Mokattah the rocks 
are covered with innumerable graffiti or " scribblings," mostly in a Syrian dialect 
mixed with Arabic terms, and dating apparently from the lasl c< utury of the old 
and first of the new era. 

The mountains which at present bear the collective name of Sinai, form a 
confused group of heights rising above a still more entangled network of wadies, 


SOUTH-\\T.-Ti:i;\- ASIA 

which seen from above presents the appearance of a storm-tossed sen. The Jebel- 
Katherin, highest and central poinl oi the Bystem, occupies very nearly the 
geometrical centre of the peninsular. North-westwards it throws of! the Jebel- 
Serhal ridge, terminating at the Wady-Feiran, while another range falls gradually 
southwards to the Etas-Mohammed. The whole eastern slope is also filled with a 
labyrinth of eminences commanded by the Jebel-Farani and Abu-Mesul groups. 
Bui in the south-west the highlands present the form of a regular sierra skirting 
the shingly El-Graat plain, which appears t<> be an upheaved marine bed. It Calls 
from about 1,000 feet at the foot of the hills uniformly to the present coast, and 

Fie. 163. — CoNvtNr oi Sinai. 

the slope is continued under the Gulf of Suez, which in the middle of the channel 
has a mean depth of about "J HI feet. 

Most explorers have accepted the hypothesis of Lepsius, who regards the Sorbal, 
or " Baal's Peak," 6,820 feet, rather than the central summit, as the true Sinai of 
Scripture. The veneration in which this region was formerly held is abundantly 
attested by the ruins of churches and monasteries at its northern base, by the 
remains of Pharan Phoinikon, or " Pharan of the Palms," and the thousand 
inscriptions kit by generations of pilgrims in the Mokattab Valley. But the tradi- 
tion changed after the time of Justinian, when a fortress was erected near the 
Jebel-Katharin, and a new monastery sprang up in the neighbourhood. The Arabs, 


who formerly offered sacrifices at this .spot, have no tradition identifying Serbal 
with the " Throne of Allah," or the " Seat of Moses." Their veneration is directed 
more to the less elevated Jebel-Monneija in the north-east, which they regard as the 
summit on which Moses conversed with God. Notwithstanding it-, extremely 
rugged aspect. Serbal lias been several times ascended since the time of Burkhardt. 
It is pierced in some places by natural caverns, which were formerly occupied 1 >y 
hermits, and which the faithful even regarded as excavated by the recluses. 

The Jebel-Katharin, highest point of the Sinaitic group (8,650 feet), rises 
above the winter snowline, and from its summits a panoramic view is commanded 
of the surrounding heights and wadics, of both gulfs, and even of the distant 
African highlands. East of it rises the nearly isolated Um-Alowi, possibly the 
ancient Jebel-Elohim, or "Mountain of God," and the southern view is broken by 
the Um-Shomer, only a few feet lower than the Jebel-Katharin itself. Still farther 
south stands the Jebel-Thebt, and to the north the Jebel-Musa, or " Mountain of 
Moses " (7,470 feet), which the monks of the neighbouring convent regard as the 
mountain where was promulgated the Hebrew Law. Between this and the twin 
peak of Ras-Safsafeh stands the wealthy convent of >St. Catharine (5,100 feet), 
whose revenues are derived from palm-groves scattered over the peninsular, and 
from large estates in Crete and Cyprus. The community, which claims the pro- 
tection of a pretended firman from Mohammed, formerly possessed some valuable 
manuscripts, which are now in St. Petersburg. 

Rivers of Syria and Palestine. 

The Syrian hydrographic system is mainly determined by the long depression 
of the Bekaa, which lies between the parallel Libanon and Anti-Libanon ranges, 
and which has a northern and southern slope. In one direction flow the waters oi 
the Orontes to the Gulf of Alexandretta, in the other those of the Jordan through 
two successive lakes to the Dead Sea. The permanent and intermittent streams 
east and west of this depression have not the space required to develop basins of 
any considerable size. Those to the west reach the Mediterranean as soon as they 
escape from the mountain gorges, while those flowing eastwards run dry in the 
sands of the desert. Of these the largest is the Barada, and of the Mediterranean 
affluents the most voluminous next to the Orontes is the Leitani, and both rise in 
the same region as the Orontes and Jordan. The Syrian water system thus presents 
the form of a cross, in which the < >rontes and Jordan constitute the trunk, the 
Leitani and Barada the arms, all radiating from the moderately elevated water- 
parting of the Bekaa between the Libanon and Anti-Libanon. Near the point of 
intersection lies the small closed basin of the Kefr-kuk, which is regarded by the 
natives as one of the sources of the Jordan. 

The Orontes, which is locally known as the Nahr-el-Asi, rises on the west slope 
of the Anti-Libanon, a little to north of Baalbek, and its upper course has to over- 
come manv obstructions, causing its waters to collect in lakes or swamps. Above 
Horus it thus developes a large basin, which covers an area of over 20 square miles, 



thanks to an old Roman dam raising it- level over 10 feet. Farther down it also 
expands below Eamah into riverain marshes, the remains of another lake formed 
by an embankment near Apamea (Kalat-el-Medik). Even in its lower course, 
between Antiochia and the coast, the < Irontea (alls in rapids over the remains of an 
ancient rocky barrier, which formerly caused it to fill a large lacustrine basin, uow 
an undulating plain with a centra] depression still known as the Ak-Deniz, or 
" White Sea." Tin's marshy and sedgy tract, the haunt of myriads of waterfowl, 
stretches uorth-easl of Antiochia to the southern fool of Amanus, and is fed by the 
Nahr-Afrin, the Kara-su, and a few other streams. 

The space between the < >rontes and F.uphrates systems is a region of closed basins, 
such as those of the Koveik (Kwa'ik), flowing southwards to Aleppo from near 

Fig. 164. — Lake Yamvneh ami Nauu-Ihuaium. 
Scale 1 : 400.00O. 


I V. - .- T- m 
L . of brfcnw' 


82 to 1G0 100 Feet and 

Feet. upwards. 

___^^_ i; Miles. 

Aiutab, and the parallel Nahr-ed Dahab, which expands into the great Sebkha, or 
saline lagoon of Jabul. The river of Damascus, the ancient Chrysorhoas, or 
" Golden Stream," also loses itself in marshes. Formed by two headstreams rising 
east and wast of the Jebel-Zebdani in the Anti-Libanon range, it escapes from the 
hills through deep ravines down to the plains, where it joins a more copious stream 
flo\N ing from the fathomless lakelet of El-Fijeh. Formerly the pure waters of this 
basin were conveyed by an aqueducl to Damascus. At present they join the more 
turbid Chrysorhoas, and after ramifying into numerous irrigation canals the waters 
are again collected in a common system of marshy tracts or lagoons. Altera 
succession of wet seasons the Barada and its canals, as well as the Pharphar or 
Nahr-el-Arwad from Mount Hermon, spread out into a series of meres or " lakes," 
described by Oriental poetic fancy as " blue sapphires set in emerald rings," but in 



reality dreary plains occasionally flooded, but usually quite dry, and here and there 
covered with a saline efflorescence. 

On the west slope of Libanon the streams are partly fed by the underground 
waters collected in the cavities of the mountain limestones. Thus above its junction 
with the Nahr-cl-Arus, the Nahr-el-Kebir receives the intermittent Nahr-Sebti, 
the " Sabbatic River " of Josephus, which is supposed to be dry for six days, and 
to flow only on the seventh, which falls, according to the Jews on Saturday, 
according to the Mohammedans on Friday. But its channel is generally flooded 
every third day. Farther south the Nahr-Kadisha, or " Holy River," receives 
similar supplies from the highest peaks of Libanon, while the more copious Nahr- 

Fig. 165. — Gorge of the Nahr-elLeitani. 
Scale 1 : 450,000. 

L . of b*-een 

55' 90 


to 32 

32 to 160 

100 Feet and 

6 Miles. 

Ibrahim flows for a long distance below the surface. Its headstream rises on the 
eastern slope in a lakelet near the village of Yanumeh, and after winding through 
a series of subterranean fissures, reappears intermittently on the western slope 
about 4,000 feet above sea level. After emerging from the Aika cavern, the 
Nahr-Ibrahim, or Adonis of the ancients, enters the Mediterranean about 4 miles 
south of Jebail (Byblos). 

The Leitani or Leontes, next to the Nalir el-Asi the largest flowing into the 
Mediterranean, rises north of Baalbek, within a few hundred yards of the farthest 
headstreams of the Orontes. But its first permanent feeder springs from a gorge 
in the Anti-Libanon some 15 miles to the south of Baalbek. And after receiving a 
thousand rivulets from both ranges, the Leitani at present trends at a sharp 



angle westwards to the coast, but it aeems to have formerly continued its southern 
course to the Upper Jordan basin above Lake Buleh. A